The emerald ash borer has been found in six new Kentucky counties as a result of the 2011 trapping survey conducted by the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist.
The borer, an invasive insect pest of ash trees, is now found in Anderson, Boyle, Bracken, Garrard, Hardin and Scott counties. The borer was already known to exist in Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Fayette, Jessamine, Franklin, Henry, Owen, Shelby, Woodford, Boyd, Greenup, Jefferson and Oldham counties.
A small, dark-green metallic beetle, the borer attacks all species of ash trees. Adult borers feed on a tree’s leaves. The larvae burrow into the tree to feed on the bark, destroying the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients to its canopy. This can cause loss of the entire canopy within a year or two.
It was first found in Michigan in 2002 and has since destroyed more than 40 million trees in 10 states. The Office of the State Entomologist began the trapping survey in 2008, placing the traps that look like purple prisms in Northern Kentucky. The borer first appeared in Kentucky in 2009. That year the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist, in consultation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and UK College of Agriculture, quarantined an area of the state roughly west of Interstate 75, north of Interstate 64 and bordered by the Ohio River. The quarantine prevents the transportation of firewood from the area into a non-quarantined area without a certificate or limited permit as a way to slow the spread of the insect.
The Office of the State Entomologist conducts a trapping survey every summer. The survey is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
Individuals with ash trees should inspect their trees for the pest. The first noticeable sign of an infestation is leaves on the top of the tree turning brown and dying. Those who suspect they have an emerald ash borer infestation should contact the USDA-APHIS Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 866-322-4512 or the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist at 859-257-5838.
More information on emerald ash borer is available at the National Emerald Ash Borer website at http://emeraldashborer.info, the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist website at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NurseryInspection/, or on the UK Entomology emerald ash borer website at http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/EAB/welcome.html.