Destructive beetle bores into South Carolina

Been detected in Spartanburg, Oconee and Greenville

Ed Jenson
August 11, 2017 - 11:50 am
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Researchers say they have discovered a destructive invasive beetle in South Carolina for the first time.

Clemson University announced Thursday the Emerald Ash Borer had been detected in Spartanburg, Oconee and Greenville counties. It was the first time the beetle has been confirmed in South Carolina as it devastated ash trees across the Southeast.

Clemson plant industry professor Steven Long said the beetle will, “kill every ash in South Carolina eventually. Everywhere it has been, it has killed all the ash.”

Long likens the effect of the Emerald Ash Borer to the Dutch Elm Disease that swept from state to state in 2016 and destroyed many varieties of elm.

He said the State Crop Pest Commission will likely quarantine the movement of ash wood in the three counties in an effort to slow the beetle’s spread. The quarantine could also be expanded to the entire state. Usually the beetle migrates from March to November, but biologists say people also assist its movement. Long said that cutting firewood in one area and bringing it somewhere else can spread the insect over large swaths of land.

The Clemson Department of Plant Industry is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor for the borer through visual surveys of ash trees both in the nursery industry and in the wild. Agriculture officials have set traps in South Carolina for more than a decade to keep watch for the insect. There were 757 total traps throughout the state of South Carolina in 2017

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