The invasive emerald ash borer that kills trees is spreading to five Texas counties. Look where

The invasive beetle that kills ash trees has traveled to new areas in Texas.

Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed last week that the emerald ash borer is now in five counties in North and Central Texas. The tiny beetle kills trees by consuming the tissues beneath the bark.

Here’s what we know.

Where have officials seen the emerald ash borer in Texas?

The invasive beetle is now in five Texas counties, including Grayson, Hill, Hood, McLennan and Palo Pinto counties.

“The spread of (emerald ash borer) into these counties is alarming,” Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator Allen Smith said in a news release. “It is more likely that EAB is spreading to neighboring counties, but the spread to McLennan County indicates that EAB is spread by humans, which is preventable.”

The species has specifically invaded the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest in Dallas, WFAA reported. The forest is considered the largest urban hardwood forest in the US

How to prevent the spread of the species

There is no natural resistance to the invasive insect and both healthy and unhealthy ash trees are susceptible to the species. Officials are encouraging residents to take proactive measures to prevent its spread. This includes:

  • Leave firewood at home and do not transport it, even within the state.

  • Using firewood from local sources near the place where it will be burned, or purchasing firewood that is certified free from pests (indicated on the label).

  • Burning all moved firewood before leaving the campsite.

This article originally appeared in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Spread of invasive emerald ash borer in Texas is ‘alarming’: officials