Since its first find in NC in 2013, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has continued to spread across the state. This year, it was detected and confirmed in 12 additional counties: Orange, Durham, Wake, Johnston, Wayne, Wilson, Graham, Madison, Lincoln, Iredell, Buncombe, and Guilford. Because of its now extensive range in the state, the entire state has been quarantined for this pest, effective immediately (see today’s Press Release).
The quarantine means that ash material (all plant parts), the insect itself, ash nursery stock, and all hardwood firewood cannot move into non-quarantined areas. These items can now move freely within the state, but they cannot move into South Carolina or central Tennessee, which remain non-quarantined. The entire state of Virginia and much of eastern Tennessee are also quarantined and items can move into those areas as well. To view current federal quarantines for EAB, visit the national EAB website. While moving firewood within the state is legal, we still recommend burning local or treated firewood to reduce the spread of not just EAB, but many invasive pests.
The emerald ash borer is a non-native invasive insect that has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in the U.S. Host plants include all of our native ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) as well as white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). There are some pesticides available for landscape trees and we are currently working to prepare pesticide documents specific to NC. For more information about EAB, visit our NCFS EAB FAQ page. (This page will be updated very soon to reflect the recent developments.)
You many begin to receive calls about EAB as this news begins to spread. We hope the FAQ page will help you answer many of them, but if you ever need our support, please do not hesitate to contact your Forest Health Specialist. As a reminder, Brian Heath and Craig Lawing serve D1, D2, D9, D10, and D12. Sara Thompson and Wayne Langston serve D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, and D13. Wayne Langston and I serve D11.
As a heads up-- in the past, EAB press releases tend to generate short-term public interest related to trees in general. You may receive calls from homeowners who are convinced they have emerald ash borer, only to find declining trees that aren’t ash. These should die down after a few days or weeks. If you get calls from the media, you are welcome to refer them to me, Rob Trickel, your Forest Health Specialist, or Brian Haines.
The Forest Health Branch will continue to monitor the spread of this pest. If you suspect or find an EAB infested tree in a new area, please contact the NC Forest Service Forest Health Branch! We still need the first record of EAB when/if it’s found in a new county.