Officials with the Office of the State Entomologist in the University of Kentucky Entomology Department today announced two confirmed occurrences in Kentucky of emerald ash borer, an invasive insect pest of ash trees. These are the first findings of this destructive insect in the state. The discoveries resulted from Kentucky Division of Forestry and University of Kentucky officials investigating reports of dying ash trees in a private woodlot in Shelby County and a residential landscape in Jessamine County.
The adult stage of the EAB is a half-inch elongate, metallic-green beetle. The beetles may be seen resting on ash leaves or chewing small feeding notches in the edges of ash leaves. The larval stage, a flat, white segmented worm, chews long winding tunnels beneath the bark. Extensive tunneling reduces water and food transport in the tree, resulting in tree death. This insect only attacks ash trees.
Officials urge Kentuckians to take several steps to help keep EAB from spreading:
Kentuckians are urged to identify ash trees on their property and to examine them for signs of EAB activity. Symptoms of infestation include dieback of the upper tree canopy, sprouts growing from roots and trunk, loose bark, signs of woodpecker activity, and D-shaped exit holes in the trunk. If you suspect that your trees may be infested, contact the Emerald Ash Borer Hotline (866) 322-4512 or the Office of the State Entomologist. (859) 257-5838. More information is available at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ . The Kentucky EAB page is located at http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/EAB/welcome.html.