Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Found in Fairfax County

July 9, 2008

News Highlights 

  • Emerald ash borers in the Herndon area.
  • Non-native insects are a serious threat to ash trees across the county, but they only affect ash trees.
  • The public is asked to report ash trees that are dead or dying by calling 703-324-5304, TTY 711.

More Information 

FairfaxCountyofficials have found an infestation of emerald ash borers in the Herndon area. These insects are a serious threat to ash trees across the county. They have killed more than 20 million ashes in the Midwest.

This is only the second time that these non-native beetles have been found in the county since a minor outbreak was contained in 2003. These insects only affect ash trees, but an infestation is usually fatal.

County arborists are trying to determine how far the beetle may have spread. To help officials, homeowners are asked to report any signs of declining or dying ash trees. Call the Fairfax County Forest Pest Program at 703-324-5304, TTY 711. More information is available to help identify ash trees or the beetle.

White ash leaf
White Ash Leaf
Green Ash Leaf
Green Ash Leaf

The leaves of infected trees will begin to die off starting at the top third of the tree until it is completely bare. Other signs include sprouts growing from the trunk or roots.

Approximately 20 to 30 infested trees were found near the intersection of Campbell Way and Herndon Parkway. No live insects were found, but two dead adult beetles were discovered, along with signs of larvae damage.

Because these pests are federally regulated, county officials are waiting for a treatment plan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A USDA scientific panel may order that ash trees within a certain area be cut down, or they may order a quarantine.

If imposed, a federal quarantine could mean that property owners are prohibited from planting ash trees in the county. Additionally, ash trees that have been cut down could not be transported outside the county.

Pesticides are generally not effective against the borer; cutting down ash trees is the best way to control this pest.

The borer was first found in ash trees planted at Colvin Run Elementary School in 2003. To control the infestation, 238 ash trees were cut down within a half-mile of the site. The insects came from 121 infected trees that were illegally sold in this area by a Michigan nursery. Starting in 2003, the federal government banned Midwestern nurseries from selling ash trees outside their states.

Fairfax County has been monitoring for the insect since 2003, but no infestations have been found until now. However, the borer is active in Prince George’s County, Md., Pennsylvania and West Virginia. A quarantine was issued for Prince George’s County in 2007, but it’s unclear how far the insect may have spread in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Emerald ash borers are native to China, Korea and Japan, and they first arrived in this country from Asia in the 1990s.

For more information about the emerald ash borer, contact the Fairfax County Forest Pest Program, at 703-324-5304, TTY 711.


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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