Emerald Ash Borer Infects Area of Fairfax County


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

Jan. 26, 2004

Emerald Ash Borer Infects Area of Fairfax County

The emerald ash borer is an insect that was accidentally introduced to this country from Asia and was first identified in Michigan in 2002. This insect will seek out, infest and kill ash trees.

In 2003, a tree nursery owner in Michigan violated federal quarantine rules and shipped infested ash trees to a nursery in Prince George's County, Md. Sixteen of the infested trees were planted at the new Colvin Run Elementary School in the Dranesville District of Fairfax County. All of these trees have been removed and incinerated. Prior to destroying the trees, staff from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services examined them for evidence of emerald ash borer and found exit holes in the bark that are typical of this insect. Exit holes in the bark indicate a very strong possibility that adult insects have escaped into the area, are capable of reproducing, and are capable of infesting ash trees.

There are a few species of ash native to Fairfax County and they are commonly planted as ornamental, landscape trees. If this insect escapes the current infestation area, it has the potential to be a serious threat to Fairfax County forests. Ash species are estimated to compose 4 percent of the county’s total tree population.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that, in order to ensure that the insects do not spread any further, it will be necessary to destroy all ash trees within a half-mile radius of the original infestation site. This eradication effort will need to take place before the adult borers emerge this spring, no later than April 1. Staff of the Fairfax County Forest Pest Program have surveyed the Colvin Run Elementary area and have identified over 190 ash trees that are within the half-mile radius of the school site. The majority of these trees are located in common areas of the local neighborhoods near the original introduction site. Roughly 30 of the trees are located on private property.

All property owners and local civic groups that own ash trees will be notified by letter. Property owners will be invited to an information meeting Feb. 17 at Colvin Run Elementary School to explain why eradication of this insect is important, methods that will be used to remove the trees, and follow-up monitoring and evaluation. Residents interested in this insect and the eradication of this pest may visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web page at www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/pest_al/eab/eab.htm for additional information or call the Fairfax County Forest Pest Program at 703-324-5304, TTY 703-324-1877.

FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS.

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