On May 25, Texas A&M Forest Service collected an adult beetle and tentatively identified it as an emerald ash borer (EAB) in southern Wise County.
The specimen was later confirmed by the USDA Department of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
This positive ID has added Wise County to the list of Texas jurisdictions under quarantine by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).
WHAT IS AN EMERALD ASH BORER?
"EAB is an invasive wood-boring pest of ash trees that has caused significant impacts across the eastern United States," says Demian Gomez, Texas A&M Forest Service regional forest health coordinator.
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The beetle is a notable threat said to kill an ash tree two to three years after it has become infested.
The first detection of the beetle in Texas dates back to 2016 in Harris County. Since then, we have seen positive identifications in the following counties: Bowie, Cass, Dallas, Denton, Marion, Wise, Parker, and Tarrant.
NEXT STEPS FOR WISE COUNTY
"Early detection of the beetle is the best way to stop the spread and avoid high ash mortality," said Gomez.
It should be noted that ash trees with minimal EAB often have little to no external symptoms of infestations.
However, residents are strongly encouraged to look for signs of EAB among their ash trees including, but not limited to, dead branches near the tops of trees, bark splits exposing s-shaped larval galleries, and leafy shoots sprouting from the trunk, and extensive woodpecker activity.
When the existence of EAB is confirmed in a county, responsibility is automatically assigned to the TDA which includes the enforcement of a quarantine.
"The quarantine helps slow the beetle's spread by restricting movement of wood in and out of affected areas," said Gomez.
To report an emerald ash borer sighting, please call 1-866-322-4512.