Texas A&M Forest Service experts are investigating reports that the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a beetle, may have been seen in Tarrant County.
Last week, entomologists identified EAB in a photograph submitted to an online nature social network, taken by a 10-year-old.
A team of biology, entomology and forestry experts teamed up to investigate the report of this exotic beetle, which is native to Asia.
EAB is a destructive, non-native, wood-boring pest of Ash trees. Texas A&M's Forest Service describes it as "a significant threat to urban, suburban and rural forests, killing Ash trees within two-to-five years of infestation.
The beetle was first discovered in North America in Michigan, in 2002; it has since spread to more than 25 states, killing millions of Ash trees.
EAB was first detected in Texas in 2016 in Harrison County (in between Longview, TX and Shreveport, LA). Adult beetles were also caught in survey traps in neighboring Cass and Marion counties earlier this summer, though no infestations have been reported.
Traps are set in the spring of each year to catch emerging adult beetles - Texas A&M Forest Service deployed nearly 500 traps accorss the state in 2018.
Since positive identification of EAB cannot be confirmed by a photograph alone, the current investigation in Tarrant County seeks to locate adult or larval specimen of the insect.
Several dead Ash trees were discovered; however, no EAB were found in traps, the damage was not consistent with EAB and no specimens were located.
Texas A&M Forest Service plans to sample suspected host trees this winter to look for developing larvae and place additional survey traps in surroundings areas next spring.
Forestry experts previously predicted that Dallas-Fort Worth would be effected by EAB, due to historic movement patters.
Officials have since been educating communities on how to prepare and protect against EAB infestation, according to a press release from Texas A&M Forest Service.
“With EAB, it’s not if, but when devastation of the state’s ash trees will occur,” Blevins said. “We can’t stop this epidemic, but we can help communities minimize loss, diversify their tree species and contribute to the health and resiliency of their urban forests.”
Homeowners can watch their ash trees for signs of EAB infestation. Symptoms may include dead branches near the top of a tree, leafy shoots sprouting from the trunk, bark splits exposing larval galleries, extensive woodpecker activity and “D” shaped exit holes in the bark.
Homeowners wishing to save their infested ash trees can find professional help online.
But, if you plan to use it for firewood, beware of potential risks: learn more here.
If you think you've seen a Emerald Ask Borer please visit AskAnEntomologist.tamu.edu.