Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-1770
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 518, Fairfax, Va 22035

Brian Keightley,
Division Director, Urban Forest Management

Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County

Click photo to enlarge

Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Adult emerald ash borer
Photo by: David Cappaert,
Michigan State University
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Emerald ash borer larvae
Photo by: Brian Sullivan,
USDA APHIS PPQ
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Emerald ash borer larva
Photo by: David Cappaert,
Michigan State University

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is a north-east Asian beetle that was unintentionally introduced into North America in packing material in 2002. Once introduced, EAB does not quickly spread great distances on its own. It is, however, easily transported from infested to noninfested areas in ash firewood, wood chips, and nursery stock. Unfortunately, as is the case for most newly introduced species, EAB arrived in North America with none of its Asian predators, parasites or diseases ready to control its populations here. EAB therefore has rather quickly made itself at home in the northeastern United States, Fairfax County and most of Virginia included.

The beetles lay their eggs on the bark of ash trees. The emerging larvae then burrow under the bark to feed on the trees’ vital vascular tissues. Increasingly unable to transport water and nutrients, trees will typically die in 3 years. EAB prefers all species of ash and is currently almost always fatal without treatment.

Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) therefore discourages the planting of ash trees for landscaping purposes. Builders will not receive tree canopy credits for planting ash on development sites within the county, and residents are encouraged to plant a variety of other native species instead of ash. For a good place to start visit Tree Selection. For information about removing trees, please visit Tree Removal.

Fairfax County UFMD works cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to minimize the long-term impact of EAB in the County, and to slow their spread to noninfested areas. USDA has provided some of EAB’s natural enemies, tiny stingless wasps, as biological controls. These wasps are harmless to humans and the environment, but they’re highly effective at killing the EAB larvae and eggs. In addition, insecticidal injection methods have been used to protect a limited number of trees on County property and public spaces.

Signs and Symptoms of an EAB infestation

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Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Adult emerald ash borer
Photo by: Fairfax County
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Larval Galleries
Photo by: Fairfax County
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
"D" shaped exit holes
Photo by: Fairfax County
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Vertical bark splitting caused by emerald ash borer
Photo By: Michigan Department of Agriculture
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Canopy dieback caused by emerald ash borer infestation
Photo By: Steven Katovich
Emerald Ash Borer in Fairfax County
Epicormic shoots caused by emerald ash borer infestation
Photo By: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Quarantine Information

There is a federal contiguous EAB quarantine throughout parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or call the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 804-786-3515, TTY 711 for current quarantine information and compliance agreements.   

Fairfax County UFMD Forest Pest Branch recommends not moving firewood. There are too many insects that hitch-hike rides on firewood.

Remember: Do your part to prevent the spread of insect pests. Don't move firewood! Buy it where you burn it. Buy your firewood once you reach your destination. Visit dontmovefirewood.org

Forest Pest Branch Biological and Chemical Control Efforts

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Eulophid wasp Tetrastichus planipennisi
Eulophid wasp Tetrastichus planipennisi
Photo by: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org
Encytid wasp Oobius agrili
Encytid wasp Oobius agrili
Photo by: Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
staff releasing adult parasitoids
Staff releasing adult parasitoids
Photo by: Fairfax County
staff release parasitoid adults and eggs
Staff release parasitoid adults and eggs
Photo By: Fairfax County
staff injecting ash at County school
staff injecting ash at County school
Photo By: Fairfax County
staff injecting ash at County park
Staff injecting ash at County park
Photo By: Fairfax County

Fairfax Virtual Assistant