The Emerald Ash Borer beetle (EAB) was recently trapped in Bath County for the first time. Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive specie originally from Asia that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. EAB, as it’s known, is a highly destructive, invasive beetle that has already killed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada.
The adult emerald ash borer is metallic green in color and about one-half inches long and one-eighth inch wide. The adult female deposits eggs on the bark of ash trees. The EAB eggs hatch into larvae which chew their way into the soft layer of wood just beneath the bark, disrupting the trees’ vascular system and cutting off the flow of water and nutrients.
EAB in the larval stage are difficult to detect as they feed under the tree bark which enables EAB to hitch a ride to new areas when people transport firewood or other infested wood products. Virginia expanded the Emerald Ash Borer quarantine to the entire Commonwealth in 2012. West Virginia has been under a statewide quarantine since 2009. EAB populations are established in 25 states and 2 Canadian provinces. EAB is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. What can you do? You can limit the spread of invasive species like EAB by not moving firewood when you camp or recreate. Who knows what invasive insects are traveling along with you in your firewood.
A project in Hidden Valley of Bath County will yield two successful outcomes. Permanent wildlife openings are being enlarged and improved along Forest Service Road 241, called the Poor Farm Road. These wildlife openings are maintained in an open, grass/forb environment and provide many of the habitat needs necessary for birds and mammals. These openings will be limed, fertilized and seeded to a beneficial mix of plants. They will also be enlarged. This means Forest Service employees will be falling trees to expand the size of the wildlife openings.
Later in August and September, we will open access to these areas for the public to collect this material as firewood. A firewood permit will be required. Listen for the opening of these public firewood areas on Allegheny Mountain Radio in the near future.