GLOUCESTER Co., Va. - The Virginia Department of Forestry said it has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer, an invasive tree-killing insect, in Gloucester County.
A release from the VDOF says this small, metallic-green beetle is "one of the worst" invasive insects in the United States and is responsible for destroying millions of ash trees since it was first identified in Virginia in 2008.
Though the emerald ash borer specifically targets ash trees, other tree species are susceptible to the insect's damage. Signs of the insect's presence include a thinning tree canopy, small holes on the bark shaped like the letter "D," sprouts from a tree's trunk or limbs and serpentine markings under the tree bark.
“It is most critical to consider ash trees in your yard and public spaces, especially if they have limbs that hang over your home, business, other structures or parking areas,” said Eastern Region Area Forester Lisa Deaton. “Contact VDOF or a certified arborist for monitoring information, treatment options and other steps you can take to keep ash trees healthy. Remember, you can help these pests from spreading by not moving firewood from one location to another.”
The VDOF urges Virginia residents to monitor for signs of the emerald ash borer and treat trees by trunk injection or systemic insecticide soil drench.
Early identification is key, the VDOF cautions — once a tree loses just 30 percent of its leaf canopy, it's likely to die.
For more information about reporting the presence of emerald ash borers, as well as a comprehensive ash tree management guide, visit the VDOF website.