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New Guide Aims to Help Locals Fight Rampant Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

The emerald ash borer has wiped out Vienna’s ash tree population, but Fairfax County has a new guide to help locals fight back against the bug where the trees are still standing.

“While the trees are waking up from dormancy in the spring, the tiny emerald ash borer (EAB) beetles are beginning to emerge, primed to create a new generation of tree-killers,” the guide says. “Spring is the perfect time, right after the trees have leafed out, to protect any ash trees that are of value while the beetles are out and flying.”

EABs strike fear in the hearts of arborists nationwide, with sightings putting entire towns under emergency quarantines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the EAB is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees across 30 states.

Signs of EAB infestation include winding “galleries” — maze-like patterns on the surface of the tree where the larvae burrow. An increased presence of woodpeckers at the tree can also be a warning sign.

The Fairfax County guide recommends pesticide use in yards with 30-50 percent of their canopy intact. Pesticides may need to be applied every year or every three years, depending on the brand.

The Virginia Department of Forestry adopted an EAB cost-share program that allows residents to apply for 50 percent assistance for pesticide costs.

Photo via Flickr/Chesapeake Bay Program

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