Emerald Ash Borer


Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) has recently been detected in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Oconee counties. These are the first confirmed detections of the invasive wood boring bark beetle in South Carolina. The beetles were found Aug. 3 during a scheduled routine check of Emerald Ash Borer traps in the Upstate and the identification was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. South Carolina is the 31st state to detect this invasive pest since the initial detection was confirmed in 2002 in Michigan.

On Monday, October 2, 2017, the Department of Plant Industry initiated a statewide emergency quarantine for ash, ash wood products, and hardwood firewood in an effort to control the spread of emerald ash borer.  This emergency quarantine is being declared in accord with the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act (APA) which states that if a natural resources related agency finds that abnormal or unusual conditions, immediate need, or the state's best interest requires immediate promulgation of emergency regulations to protect or manage natural resources, the agency may file the regulation with the Legislative Council and a statement of the situation requiring immediate promulgation.

In accord with the South Carolina Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a statewide hearing was held on Friday, September 29, 2017 to discuss a plan of action with internal and external stakeholders. Recommendations for a statewide quarantine came from the South Carolina Forestry Commission, The Forestry Association of South Carolina, The Foresters Council of South Carolina, and the Clemson University State Entomologist’s Office.

A link to the full emergency quarantine language and information regarding movement of regulated articles can be found here.

The entire state of South Carolina is quarantined for emerald ash borer. The official listing of quarantined areas in South Carolina shall be maintained and made publicly available on Clemson’s website located at: www.clemson.edu/invasives.

In addition to implementation of a quarantine, Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) will continue conducting delimiting surveys throughout the upstate to determine the density and size of infestation.

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, is a bark-boring beetle native to East Asia. The beetle targets ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) and was introduced to the United States a decade ago through the wood used in shipping crates from China. Emerald ash borers feed on the tissues under the tree bark, out of sight, and can kill an ash tree within two to four years after the initial infestation. The beetles, by feeding on the tree’s tissues, disrupt the tree’s ability to transport nutrients and water to the photosynthesizing leaves. The emerald ash borer is transported to new areas through the movement of infested wood such as firewood, nursery stock and other ash tree products.

The emerald ash borer is bright, metallic green with a flattened back. Underneath the wing covers, the beetle has metallic purple abdominal sections. The larvae of the EAB are creamy white and legless with bell-shaped segments body segments. The emerald ash borer often causes canopy dieback, epicormic shoots, and bark splitting. As the length of the infestation increases, the ash trees drop increasingly more leaves and experience increased woodpecker activity and damage. Under the bark of the tree, the beetle creates large tunnels or feeding galleries that weave back and forth across the grain of the wood. As the adult beetle emerges from the ash tree, they leave a recognizable D-shaped hole.

Emerald ash borer larvae tunnel under the bark, girdling ash trees. Emerald ash borer is a green, metallic beetle with a bullet-shaped body.

If you suspect you have found an emerald ash borer or an infested ash tree, please contact DPI at invasives@clemson.edu or 864-646-2140.

Publications Related Links