Emerald Ash Borer Found in Howard Co. for the First Time - Southern Maryland Headline News

Emerald Ash Borer Found in Howard Co. for the First Time

New Quarantine Expands Restrictions on Ash Wood and Hardwood Firewood, Citizens Asked to Help Stop the Beetle

ANNAPOLIS (June 15, 2011) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Howard County. This is the first time since 2008 that EAB has been found outside of the quarantine area. The Howard County detection, made by an arborist who participated in the University of Maryland Extension Invasive Species training program, was discovered on June 6 and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on June 8.

MDA has updated the quarantine to 1) include Howard County, 2) drop the Infested Area in Charles and Prince George's Counties, and 3) remove the Eradication Zone. The revised quarantine order now covers all of Charles, Howard, and Prince George's counties. The new quarantine prohibits anyone from moving ash trees or any hardwood firewood out of Prince George’s, Charles and Howard counties until further notice.

“MDA revised the emerald ash borer quarantine to secure Howard County and help us to conduct activities there to assess the situation,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “It is early in the emerald ash borer season. Given the high prevalence of ash trees in Maryland, we may discover additional infested areas outside the quarantine areas and will update the quarantine as necessary.”

This year, MDA deployed nearly 2,600 purple triangular insect traps in trees statewide to determine the presence of EAB. Two of these traps in Howard County have also turned up adult EAB. Targeted delimiting surveys in Howard County will start officially the week of June 23. Property owners in the affected area are being notified by mail that survey teams will be working in their area.

“The existence of the EAB in central Maryland was not entirely unexpected, given the high prevalence of ash trees in Howard County,” said MDA Plant Protection and Weed Management Program Manager, Carol Holko. “We are continuing to assess the situation, and assembling a team to work with the USDA Emerald Ash Borer Science Panel and Management Team to determine the best course of action.”

Isolated incidents of EAB are not necessarily indicative of an outbreak or cause for drastic measures. MDA and other agencies will be monitoring the situation carefully and determining the proper response in cooperation with USDA, DNR, Maryland Extension, Howard County officials, and others.

EAB was detected in Prince George’s County in 2003 and in Charles County in 2008. The EAB is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on and kills ash trees within three years after infestation. Ash trees are one of the most common and important landscaping trees used in Maryland and are common in western Maryland forests. Ash wood is used for all traditional applications of hardwood from flooring and cabinets to baseball bats.

Presence of the emerald ash borer typically goes undetected until trees show symptoms of being infested – usually the upper third of a tree will thin and then die back. This is usually followed by a large number of shoots or branches arising below the dead portions of the trunk. Other symptoms of infestation include: small D-shaped exit holes in the bark where adults have emerged, vertical splits in the bark, and distinct serpentine-shaped tunnels beneath the bark in the cambium, where larvae effectively stop food and water movement in the tree, starving it to death.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of homeowners and citizens in Prince George’s and Charles counties as well as campers and anglers around the state to help us contain this destructive pest,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “We are working together with our federal, state, and local partners, but we rely upon cooperation from the community to follow the quarantine restrictions, and to report signs of possible infestation. We call upon the residents of Howard County to do the same.”

To help stop this damaging beetle, homeowners and citizens who live in and travel through Prince George’s, Charles, and Howard counties can help:

• Don’t move firewood – buy it where you burn it. Hauling firewood is the most common way for damaging plant pests to be moved from one area to another. In addition, the state quarantine prohibits anyone from moving hardwood firewood or any other ash tree materials out of Prince George’s, Charles, or Howard counties.

• Don’t plant ash trees. As the EAB is expanding its range in Maryland, diversified plantings of alternative tree species are recommended for residential landscaping.

• Report any signs of the emerald ash borer to the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center at 1-800-342-2507 or the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5920.

Maryland’s nursery and greenhouse industry – the industry most threatened by the EAB – accounts for $217 million of the state’s $1.6 billion agriculture industry. Ash is the most common tree in Baltimore City with approximately 293,000 trees and accounts for about six million trees in Baltimore and surrounding counties. USDA has estimated that losses could exceed $227.5 million in the Baltimore area alone if the emerald ash borer were to become established.

For information about the emerald ash borer, please visit www.mda.state.md.us/plants-pests/eab/current.php or call 410-841-5920. Additional information is also available online at: www.stopthebeetle.info.

Source: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture

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