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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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Tree-Killing Beetle Found in Dallas County

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Emerald Ash Borer Beetle | Image by David Cappaert / Bugwood.org

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According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB), which has destroyed millions of trees across the United States, has now been identified in Dallas County.

On May 12, the forest service collected an adult beetle specimen in the Carrollton-Coppell area and provisionally identified it as an EAB. The USDA later confirmed the sample, and other adult EABs were discovered in Dallas County’s central and southern districts, according to the forest service.

The EAB is a green beetle no bigger than a penny. These insects are native to Asia and were unknown in North America until being discovered in southeast Michigan in 2002.

All species of ash boring beetles are prone to attack ash trees. The beetle burrows into the tree’s bark and lays its eggs. The larvae then feed on water-conducting tissue, destroying the tree in the process.

“EAB is a destructive, non-native wood-boring pest of ash trees,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator Allen Smith. “Since 2018, we have deployed nearly 500 traps across Central, East and North Texas annually watching for the insect’s presence and movement.”

City of Dallas Forestry says the bug destroys both stressed and healthy ash trees, posing a serious danger to urban, suburban, and rural forests. The EAB is a particularly aggressive insect, and infested ash trees can die in two or three years.

According to the Forest Service, ash trees make up around 5% of the urban forest in Dallas-Fort Worth and 1% of the standing inventory woods in East Texas. The beetle has the potential to cause substantial damage in Dallas’ Great Trinity Forest, where ash trees make up around 40% of the trees.

In 2016, the invasive beetle was found in northeast Texas in Harrison County. The bug likely came to Texas via wood items brought by people moving from infested areas.

Now, the presence of EABs has since been confirmed in Bowie, Cass, Denton, Marion, Parker, and Tarrant counties.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will add Dallas County to the list of Texas jurisdictions under quarantine. By restricting the transit of ash wood, wood waste, and hardwood fuel, the TDA quarantines help slow the spread of the insect.

To make a report on an EAB sighting, please dial 1-866-322-4512.     

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