Monday, May 20, 2013

Beware the Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer with penny for scale
O’Malley Declares Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

Governor Martin O’Malley has designated May 19-25 Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week in Maryland – a time to educate citizens about this invasive pest that has been wreaking havoc on the state’s ash trees since it was discovered in 2003. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urge citizens to take steps and help prevent the spread of this damaging pest.

“With Memorial Day Weekend right around the corner, we remind residents that they can do their part to help stop the spread of the emerald ash borer by buying firewood in the area where they will burn it and not moving firewood to the Eastern Shore,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance.

The ash tree is one of the most important urban trees in Maryland, an important woodland tree in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as well as an important tree for the timber industry. Ash wood is used to make furniture, guitars, baseball bats and many other common items. Losses from the EAB could exceed $227.5 million in the Baltimore metro area alone if it goes unchecked, according to the USDA. The small emerald beetle that can fit on a penny has killed thousands of ash trees across the nation.

What citizens can do to prevent the EAB from taking over?

• Respect the quarantine: Currently, there is a quarantine in effect for the 14 counties west of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River, making it illegal to transport firewood and ash products to the Eastern Shore where the EAB has not yet been detected. Don’t move firewood outside the quarantine area. See a map of the quarantine area:

• Buy or use firewood that is close to your campsite.

• Do not transport firewood to State Parks, State Forests and other state-managed public campgrounds: As part of the state’s effort to stop the spread of the pest, DNR prohibits campers and other visitors from bringing outside firewood onto its properties. Campers are made aware of the restriction when reservations are made and by notices posted at the properties. Personnel will be able to direct visitors to local sources of firewood and require campers to burn all firewood transported to a DNR property.
Emerald Ash Borer with typical damage under bark

• Knows the signs: If you have ash trees, become familiar with the signs of EAB infestation. Symptoms include:
  • The upper third of a tree dies back first, followed by the rest the next year.
  • Shoots or sprouts emerge below dead portions of the trunk.
  • The canopy continues to decline until the tree eventually dies.
  • Woodpecker activity is an ‘early warning sign’ of EAB.
  • Emerging adults leave D-shaped exit holes behind tree bark.
  • Eaten leaves.
  • To see photos of symptoms:
"D"-shaped hole with beetle emerging

• Learn where infested areas are and avoid passing through them. If you can’t avoid known infestation areas, remove all plant parts from your equipment, boots, gear, truck bed, tires, animals, and harvesting equipment before leaving the area to make sure you are not spreading insects to a new location. To see a map of where EAB has been identified in Maryland, see:

To report suspect EAB infestations or to ask specific questions, call the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center, 800-342-2507.
I can't say I've encountered any around here, but then, we don't have many Ash trees in our woods. 

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