June 22, 2024 2:45 pm
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Invasive Beetle Threatens Ash Trees in North Carolina

Credit: iStock

The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle known for destroying ash trees, has now been detected in 76 North Carolina counties, including recent findings in Anson, Bertie, Duplin, Martin, and Sampson counties. This beetle, identifiable by its metallic green color, was first discovered in North Carolina in 2013 and has since spread rapidly. The larvae burrow under the bark, cutting off nutrients and water, ultimately killing the trees within three to five years.

Jim Moeller, a forest health specialist with the North Carolina Forest Service, emphasizes that human activity significantly aids the beetle’s spread, particularly by transporting infested firewood and packing materials. Residents are urged to buy and use local firewood to mitigate this spread. The entire state remains under quarantine for the emerald ash borer, prohibiting the movement of ash plant parts and hardwood firewood into non-quarantined areas. The Forest Service continues to monitor and manage this invasive pest, encouraging residents to report any suspected infestations.