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Invasive emerald ash borer found in Arkansas | News

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Invasive emerald ash borer found in Arkansas
Invasive emerald ash borer found in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The emerald ash borer, a tiny Asian insect, is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of trees in the U.S. since 2002. 12 years later, the beetle has found its way to Arkansas.


Sam Kim, an entomologist and the State Survey Coordinator for the Plant Board, says the insects have been found in 6 counties, all in south Arkansas.


"It can migrate, but the quickest and fastest way that it's moving this far south is by transportation of firewood."


Wednesday, Scott Bray with the Arkansas State Plant Board says they held a meeting to discuss how to stop it.


"Right now we're trying to determine how we want to go forward with a quarantine whether it will be on a county by county basis, regional basis or consists of the entire state as some other states have done."


The quarantine would restrict movement of firewood in certain areas. For now, Bray says the board is asking that all firewood be bought and burned locally.


"We are asking that campers buy it where you're going to burn it, don't move it any great distances."


Kim says he worries the pest could be detrimental to the small ash tree population in the state.


"There's only about 2 to 3 percent of composition of ash in the state. This beetle will attack every single ash that there is in the state and has the potential to eliminate all ash species."


Already damaged trees indicate the invasive species has been here for 3 to 5 years, but this is the first year Bray says these purple prism traps have picked up on them.


"Try to contain it as much as possible, slow down the spread, but it's here and it's probably going to spread."


The board will meet again on September 11th to determine if a quarantine needs to put in place to protect our forest.