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 Kentucky, however, has rescinded its EAB quarantine, so APHIS is adding all of Kentucky to the APHIS list of regulated areas to prevent the spread of EAB to other states.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.
On October 14, 2014, the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) at the Smithsonian confirmed the partial adult and larval specimens recovered from a white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) as emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis). EAB larvae and a partial adult specimen were collected from four white fringetrees up to 20 miles distant from one another in the Dayton, OH area. Also present in the infested material were D-shaped exit holes and fully developed galleries identical to those caused by EAB. Follow this link for the text of the release.
Status of known EAB activity
Finds for 2015: Bullitt, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lincoln, Madison, Martin, Mercer, Montgomery, Nelson, Spencer, and Washington Counties.
Green identifies the counties where EAB infestations have been found. EAB is not necessarily is present throughout these counties at this time. Estimated infestation levels for 2014 made in January 2015 by UK Cooperative Extension Agents are: high = red, moderate = yellow, and light = green.
Significant infestation increases over the previous year were noted in Anderson, Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Oldham, and Scott 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.
The greatest potential for infestation occurs in the counties pictured red and yellow (map above); counties colored green have a higher risk potentaila than those in white. Homeowners living within red, yellow, or green 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.
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.
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.
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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