Hot Topic: Emerald Ash Borer Found in Kentucky

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is a small (1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide) bright green beetle that is native to Asia.  It was discovered near Detroit, Michigan in 2002 and has since killed more than 15 million ash trees.  Large infestations are concentrated in Michigan and Ontario, Canada, but smaller infestations have been found in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia. 

Adult beetles emerge from May-July and the females lay eggs on ash bark.  Eggs hatch in 7-10 days and tunnel into the vascular tissue of the tree creating serpentine galleries and cutting off the flow of nutrients to the tree.  Ash trees attacked by this beetle will typically die in 1-3 years.

These beetles can fly, but will only fly short distances of about 1/2 mile per year.  Humans are unwittingly transporting this destructive pest in ash products such as branches, logs, wood chips larger than 1 inch, nursery stock, and firewood.  Shipments of ash nursery trees and ash logs with bark are now regulated out of quarantine areas. Transporting firewood outside of the quarantined areas is illegal, but many people are not aware of this restriction. Transport of infested firewood remains an ongoing concern.  Please do not move any ash firewood or logs!!  Help keep this beetle out of Kentucky.

signs and symptoms

Is it close to Kentucky?

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in Kentucky.  On May 18, 2009, EAB was discovered in Shelby County by the Kentucky Division of Forestry and in Jessamine County by the Office of the State Entomologist at the University of Kentucky.  Since then, EAB has been found in several other counties.  Click here for a map of emerald ash borer findings. 


The entire state of Kentucky is under a federal quarantine to restrict the movement of ash products including nursery stock, logs, lumber, wood chips, and firewood.  You can visit the UK Entomology Emerald Ash Borer Page for more information.

Information for Homeowners

The website has excellent information for homeowners who are concerned about their ash trees.

EAB Surveys

Trap Trees: 2006-2007

In October of 2006, 2-3 ash trees (> 6 inches in diameter) were prepared as trap trees by girdling them at chest height.  A band of plastic wrap was placed above and below the girdled area.  This plastic wrap was coated with tack-trap.  Wounded trees give off volatiles that are attractive to emerald ash borer which will then be trapped on the sticky bands.  The girdled trees were located in campground areas of state parks. Sticky bands were inspected every 1-2 weeks from May to September.  These trap trees will be used for 2 years then felled and dissected to inspect for larval galleries.


EAB Survey 2008-2013

In 2008, Kentucky participated in the first EAB survey using a trap and artificial lure.  We placed 3065 traps throughout the state, focusing on the northern part of the state as well as campgrounds and parks that receive high tourist traffic.  The traps are large purple panel traps (seen below) equipped with a lure and covered with a sticky substance to attract and then trap EAB.  We did not find EAB in 2008. In 2009, we set 6000 purple traps for the survey.  We found a total of 200 beetles on 77 traps. In 2010 we set approximately 6000 traps and found 182 beetles on 25 traps.  In 2011 we set approximately 6800 traps and found 219 beetles on 51 traps in 11 counties.  We set 1583 traps in 70 counties in 2012.  We found 24 beetles on 4 traps that were all located in Pike County.  In 2013 we set 967 traps and found 24 beetles on 5 traps.  2013 was the last year of the purple trap survey in Kentucky since the beetle was found in states far to the south and west.  The USDA is now concentrating trapping efforts in those areas.  For more detailed information on Kentucky's trapping results, click here.