Covering Louisiana

Jul 23, 2014 5:41 PM

USDA conducting trap surveys across La. to watch for possible EAB beetles

Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the USDA is conducting trap surveys across Louisiana to watch for possible Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetles following the recent discovery of the ash tree pest in Arkansas.

The EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Louisiana's ash trees are primarily located along the Atchafalaya Basin and the Mississippi River Delta. However, there are ash trees in urban areas, as well. The EAB has never been found in Louisiana.

The EAB beetle is a pest to all types of ash trees but does not attack other hardwoods or pines. Strain said, "Not only is ash one of the predominant trees planted in the Conservation Reserve Program, it is also a tree that is common in urban areas and has aesthetic appeal. If the trees start dying, it could be costly for residents or city officials to have them removed."

The beetle is often transported into an area by infested firewood, but it is not known how the EAB entered Arkansas. Officials say the best way to prevent the spread of EAB is to not move firewood.

In October, the LDAF will start a new campaign, affiliated with the national campaign called "Don't Move Firewood", which is geared toward educating people about the risks of transporting pests to other locations where some can do harm. It is best to purchase firewood not more than 10 miles from where it will be burned. When traveling, burn firewood where you purchased it and make sure to burn all of it.

EAB is a native insect of Asia. In 2002, EAB was discovered in Michigan and is now present in 24 states, Arkansas being the most recent location. EAB is a federally-regulated pest. States survey for EAB and if it is found, quarantine boundaries are established by the state.

The LDAF and USDA used traps to monitor for EAB from 2009 until 2011. Since 2012, the USDA has taken over trapping the beetle and currently has more than 55 traps statewide.

For more information about emerald ash borer or firewood movement, visit: www.emeraldashborer.info or www.dontmovefirewood.org .

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