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Oklahoma forestry officials plan to restrict movement of ash wood following discovery of destructive beetle

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emerald ash borer

OKLAHOMA CITY – State forestry officials say they plan to restrict the movement of ash wood in part of northeastern Oklahoma following the discovery of a destructive beetle that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees across the nation.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry says the emerald ash borer has been discovered in Delaware County. The insect is a non-native, wood-boring beetle and represents a significant threat to ash trees across the state.

“With a number of our neighboring states already dealing with the pest, we knew it was a matter a time before emerald ash borer appeared in Oklahoma,” said George Geissler, director, Oklahoma Forestry Services. “We want to make Oklahomans aware of the issue and available options and resources for dealing with this pest.”

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry will be quarantining all movement of ash wood out of Delaware County because the pest lives under the bark and it can be easily spread if infested wood is moved into other areas.

Treatment options are available, officials say, but need to be carefully weighed against removal options, looking at financial implications, including the cost of each treatment and the tree value.

The rate of spread is impacted by many variables and is difficult to predict, but it also enters into the decision making for communities and individuals.

Oklahoma Forestry Services recommends consulting with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist if you have questions about your ash trees.

“There are decisions to be made, and we want those decisions to be science-based,” said Geissler. “We’re offering the best resources available on our website and will keep Oklahomans informed on the progression of emerald ash borer.”

Native to Asia, the insect was discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002 and has spread to more than 25 states and Canada.

In Arkansas, forestry officials have issued a quarantine for 33 counties banning the movement of ash items including nursery stock and firewood in an effort to prevent the spread of the beetle.

Here are emerald ash borer signs to look for:

  • Adult EAB – Is a metallic emerald green color and about 1/2’’ long. They are difficult to detect.
  • Larva – It is a cream color and distinctly segmented. It is easy to spot by peeling back loose ash tree bark.
  • S-shaped galleries – After the larvae have matured and exited the tree, distinct s-shaped galleries are left under the bark.
  • D-shaped very small exit holes are left in the tree.
  • Crown Decline – the top 1/3 of the tree typically dies first, then progresses down the tree.
  • Multiple Trees – Infestation may include a number of declining ash in the area.
  • Woodpecker Holes – Woodpeckers love EAB larvae, so woodpecker holes might indicate EAB.

 Please notify Oklahoma Forestry Services at 405-522-6158 if you see signs of emerald ash borer infestation in ash trees.

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