TREE-KILLING EMERALD ASH BORER CONFIRMED IN PARKER COUNTY

Tree-killing emerald ash borer confirmed in Parker County

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The presence of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) was confirmed May 2, 2022 in Parker County. Parker County will be added to the list of Texas jurisdictions under quarantine by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). TDA quarantines are designed to slow the spread of the insect pest by limiting the transportation of ash wood, wood waste and hardwood firewood.

On April 26, Texas A&M Forest Service collected two adult beetle specimens from a private residence in Hudson Oaks, Texas and tentatively identified them as being EAB. The specimens were sent to the USDA Department Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) national lab for confirmation.

Lab results for both specimens tested positive as EAB.

“EAB is a destructive, non-native wood-boring pest of ash trees,” said Allen Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator. “The pest is a significant threat to urban, suburban and rural forests as it is very aggressive. Ash trees may die within two or three years after they become infested.”

Native to Asia, forest health experts have been monitoring EAB movement across the United States since 2002. It has spread to more than half the states in America, killing millions of ash trees. The beetle was first detected in Texas in 2016 in Harrison County in northeast Texas. Since then, EAB has been positively confirmed in Bowie, Cass, Denton, Marion, Parker and Tarrant Counties.

Each year, Texas A&M Forest Service sets traps and proactively monitors for the pest.

“Since 2018, we have deployed nearly 500 traps across Central, East and North Texas annually watching for the insect’s presence and movement,” said Smith. “Both healthy and unhealthy ash trees are susceptible to EAB attack and have no natural resistance to the exotic insect. Without proper proactive measures, mortality can be 100% in heavily infested areas, so early detection could improve our chances to manage for the pest.”

Once the presence of EAB is confirmed in a county, TDA assumes regulatory responsibility which includes the establishment of quarantines. The state’s mandatory quarantine by TDA, restricts movement of any woody ash material exiting the county or quarantined area.

“Because EAB is transported unintentionally on firewood and wood products, the quarantine helps slow the beetle’s spread by restricting the movement of wood in and out of affected areas,” said Smith.

Texas A&M Forest Service urban tree canopy inventories estimate that ash trees comprise approximately 5% of the Dallas/Fort Worth urban forest and approximately 1% of the standing inventory forests in East Texas.

“There is no known stop to this epidemic,” said Smith. “But we can help communities minimize loss, diversify their tree species and contribute to the health and resiliency of their urban forests.”

Texas A&M Forest Service works with communities on state quarantines of the movement of wood into and out of impacted areas. There are resources available to help affected communities identify signs of EAB infestation and can assist in making decisions about preventative measures they can take and how to handle tree management and removal.

For more information on EAB in Texas, please visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/eab/.

EAB photos and resources can be viewed and accessed at http://ow.ly/LIJi30lbBxz

For information from TDA on EAB quarantine, visit https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=4&pt=1&ch=19&sch=Z&rl=Y or https://texasagriculture.gov/RegulatoryPrograms/PlantQuality/PestandDiseaseAlerts/EmeraldAshBorer.aspx.

To report emerald ash borer, please call 1-866-322-4512.

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Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:
Courtney Blevins, Urban Forester in Fort Worth, 817-879-3974, cblevins@tfs.tamu.edu
Allen Smith, Regional Forest Health Coordinator, 903-297-5094, lasmith@tfs.tamu.edu
Demian Gomez, Regional Forest Health Coordinator, 512-339-4118, demian.gomez@tfs.tamu.edu
Communications Office, 979-458-6606, newsmedia@tfs.tamu.edu