NASHVILLE – A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees has been expanded to include more Tennessee counties. Bradley, McMinn, Meigs and Polk counties have been added to the list of areas restricted for the movement of ash trees and ash tree products. EAB was recently found in McMinn and Polk counties and it is believed that EAB is also likely to be present in Bradley and Meigs counties. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 38.
Over the past three years, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture have regulated only the counties where at least one EAB specimen was detected. But because small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is taking the precautionary measure of expanding the EAB quarantine to some counties without a positive detection where EAB is likely present.
“We think it’s in the best interest of the state to quarantine locations where we believe EAB could be located even though we haven’t found it yet,” Gray Haun, TDA’s Plant Certification administrator said. “For example, Sullivan County and Washington County were placed under quarantine earlier this year because we suspected EAB was there and just recently we were able to confirm it.”