GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — An invasive tree-killing insect has landed in Gloucester.

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the presence of the emerald ash borer (also known as EAB), has been detected in Gloucester.

The emerald ash borer was first identified in Virginia in 2008 and has been known to be “one of the worst to ever invade the U.S.,” destroying millions of ash trees. It has been identified in every county in Virginia.

The small, metallic-green beetle specifically targets ash trees. However, officials say some other tree species are also susceptible to EAB damage. Just one insect can lay 40-70 eggs, resulting in larvae that bore into the tree and feed on the inner bark and water system, robs the tree of vital nutrients and eventually killing it.

Signs of an EAB infestation include:

  • thinning tree canopy
  • small holes on the bark shaped like the letter “D,”
  • epicormic branching (sprouts from the trunk or limbs)
  • and serpentine markings under the tree bark

The best way to fight EAB is to monitor for tell-tale signs and treat trees by trunk injection or systemic insecticide soil drench. These actions help keep the water and nutrient transportation system intact and offer the best chance of survival. Early identification is key; once a tree loses just 30 percent of its leaf canopy, it’s very likely to die.

For more information about reporting EAB, and a comprehensive ash tree management guide, visit the VDOF website. For more assistance, find your local VDOF forester here.