National EAB Resources

Kentucky EAB Resources

Kentucky Emerald Ash Borer Information

Effective immediately April 3, 2014), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) expanded the list of regulated areas for the emerald ash borer (EAB) to include the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky. APHIS is taking this action in response to the detection of EAB in widely separated locations in Kentucky. APHIS previously regulated only a portion of Kentucky due to the establishment and enforcement of equivalent state quarantines. Kentucky, however, has rescinded its EAB quarantine, so APHIS is adding all of Kentucky to the APHIS list of regulated areas to prevent the spread of EAB to other states. Follow this link to the quarantine order.

EAB 2014

Status of known EAB activity

New finds for 2104: Bath, Laurel, Rowan, and Trimble counties. Trimble was in the original quarantine area but the insect was not detected there until this summer.

Green identifies the counties where EAB infestations have been found. EAB is not necessarily is present throughout these entire county. In some cases the borer has not found but is present in surrounding counties (Bracken Co.)or only a few insects have been captured in surveillance traps: Bath, Hardin, Laurel, Pulasli, & Rockcastle). Estimated infestation levels are: high = red, moderate = yellow, and light = green.Infestation assessments/ reports from UK Cooperative Extension Agents (4/2014)

  • Many infested ash trees over most of the county: Anderson, Boone, Franklin, Jefferson (The ash component of Louisville's tree population is 17%. About 5% of the trees in the Waterfront Development are ash -Louisville City Arborist and Management of Waterfront Development), Jessamine, Shelby, Woodford
  • Noticeable infestations but confined to localized "hot spots": Carroll, Fayette (Based on a 2005 Lexington street tree survey, ash species comprised almost 11% of about 51,000 street trees in the Urban Service Area), Gallatin, and Harrison.
  • Few infested trees: Boyle
  • None reported: Bracken, Hardin, Rockcastle

Significant infestation increases were noted in Anderson, Boone, Franklin, and Harrison counties.

Quarantine regulations for the emerald ash borer now include the entire state. This Federal Order directly affects the wood and nursery industries because it regulates the interstate movement of ash nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost, and chips of ash species, and firewood of all hardwood species. While it is quite likely that the insect is present outside the original green quarantine counties (map above), the entire state is not infested at this time. EAB activity is still very localized within some of those counties.

Points to consider

  • The greatest potential for infestation occurs in the counties pictured in green. Homeowners living within those counties or within 15 miles of known infestations who wish to protect their ash trees should start or continue to apply protective treatments. You can get information on effective control options for the EAB from your local Cooperative Extension Office. At this point, it is not clear how long ash trees must be protected while the wave of EAB infestation passes through but 7 to 10 years is a reasonable estimate. This decision guide can help in assessing your situation.

    Homeowners can protect desirable ash trees with diameters of 20 inches or less at 4.5 feet above ground level (DBH) using a soil drench containing the active ingredient imidacloprid. Tree care professionals have products and techniques that can protect larger trees or that provide a longer period of protection. This thorough publication covers the insecticide options that are available.

    There is no advantage to begin preventive treatments for those living in counties shown in white until an active EAB infestation is found nearby. Unnecessary treatments are not wise expenditures, either on a monetary or ecological basis.

  • Buy firewood where you burn it. Moving infested ash, especially as firewood, can lead to more rapid spread of this insect. >EAB adults are capable of flying 1/2 mile or more per day but most spread from newly established sites seems to cover distances in the range of 100 yards. Long distance spread is the result of inadvertent spread by humans in infested firewood and unprocessed ash logs. We don’t want to be our own worst enemy.
  • The purple traps once used extensively across the state to survey for EAB will either be out in very limited numbers, or not at all. While the traps had limited effectiveness, they were at least a means of trying to identify new infestations. This leaves detection to extension agents, certified arborists and turf and landscape manager. Report suspected infestations to the Office of the State Entomologist or your local Cooperative Extension Office (859) 257-5838 for confirmation. New findings will be posted on this web page. Continued watchfulness by all will be necessary to limit the spread of this important invasive insect.

Ash distribution in Ky

Ash distribution

According to the Ky Division of Forestry, there are 130.9 million stems of white ash and 92.5 million stems of green ash in the Commonwealth. This USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis map (above) shows the distribution of ash stems by county (darkest color = highest to lightest = lowest) based on a 2006 Forest Inventory and Analysis.The top five counties are Henry, Bath, Spencer, Pulaski, and Hopkins. All have more than 6 million. Numbers of ash stems per county are available under the Ky EAB Resources menu on the left.

Identifying the EAB

EAB adults are 3/8 to 1/2-inch long and very narrow (about 1/5-inch wide). The head is blunt, the body tapers noticeably at the end of the abdomen. The wing covers are emerald green; the top of the abdomen, visible when the wings are spread, is metallic purple-red.

Newly emerged adults are most active when it is warm and sunny. They feed for several days before mating, chewing irregular notches along leaf margins. Mated females will feed for another week or two before laying eggs in bark crevices or under bark flaps on the trunk. One female will lay between 60 and 90 eggs.

Emerald ash borer EAB feeding notches on ash leaf

Many green insects can be confused with the emerald ash borer. The picture below (courtesy of the Missouri Dept Agriculture) shows an EAB along with several look-alikes. The line-up includes (top row L-R): EAB, a bark gnawing beetle (family Trogossitidae), Buprestis rufipes, green June beetle, and the caterpillar hunter. (bottom row L-R) Japanese beetle, a green tiger beetle, green stinkbug, dogbane beetle, and a metallic bee. The picture shows relative sizes and shapes of these insects.


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