Emerald Ash Borer

Bore lines of Emerald Ash Borer
Infested tree located in Fayette County, WV less than .6 miles from the park boundary. Note the serpentine feeding galleries.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an exotic beetle native to Asia, was originally detected in Michigan in 2002. This beetle feeds on and eventually kills its host tree, ash (Fraxinus sp.). Since EABs first discovery, both state and federal authorities have been diligently working to prevent the spread; however, the beetle has continued to expand. It is estimated that this beetle has killed tens of millions of ash trees in CT, IL, IN, IO, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO,NY,OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WI and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. In 2009, EAB was found in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

The Emerald Ash Borer beetle can fly several miles as an adult making it difficult to control. Factors contributing to the spread primarily relate to the transport of green wood materials, such as firewood from contaminated areas. Regulatory agencies have created and enforced wood transport quarantines in all the states that EAB is established in.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is infested with this exotic beetle, making thousands of acres of forest habitat susceptible to death. Although ash species are not a dominant tree species within the park, this species does comprise between 10-20% of the tree cover within approximately 466 acres of the most valuable forested areas along the river. As a result, park staff are treating ash trees in designated areas of importance. Insecticides are injected into the trunk of the ash trees, killing EAB and preventing re-infestation for a few years. This is only a temporary solution to keep some ash trees alive until a permanent solution is found.

The NPS is asking for your help in preventing the spread of this or other similarly destructive pests. Please do not bring campfire wood from other states or regions. When possible, please utilize local sources for campfire wood and burn all transported firewood before leaving your campsite to return home.

For more information please check the following websites: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/pest_al/eab/eab04.htm

Last updated: January 27, 2021

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