June 10, 2014
The emerald ash borer, a beetle no bigger than the size of your finger nail is causing life-size problems for thousands of trees in Central Virginia.
Staff members at Shenandoah National Park have confirmed the presence of the beetles in the park.
Sixty-five adult emerald ash borer beetles were caught in a surveillance trap near the park's northern boundary.
The tiny beetles came from Asia, first popping up in North America in 2002 in Michigan.
Since its introduction, emerald ash borers have spread to 23 states, killing over 50 million ash trees.
Purple traps were placed in the park last year to get an idea of how bad the problem really was. Due to the large number of beetles found in a single trap, the level of infestation in this area is assumed to be fairly high.
Ash trees are a significant component of Shenandoah National Park's ecosystems. Five percent of the trees in the park are ash and in danger of being killed off.
If the beetles become well established in the park, it could lead to large scale ash mortality.
Officials say it can cost thousands of dollars to remove one large dead ash tree.