Health & Environment

Emerald Ash Borer Moves South

The Texas A&M Forest Service confirms the invasive beetle has been found in five Texas counties.
By Leighton Gibson, Texas A&M Forest Service May 21, 2024

An emerald ash borer feeding on a leaf
The invasive emerald ash borer beetle has been confirmed in Grayson, Hill, Hood, McLennan and Palo Pinto counties.

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The presence of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) is confirmed in Grayson, Hill, Hood, McLennan and Palo Pinto Counties. The invasive species is infesting and killing ash trees in new areas of the state and continues to spread south.

“The spread of EAB to these counties is alarming,” said Allen Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator. “It’s more likely for EAB to spread to adjacent counties, but the spread to McLennan County indicates that EAB is being spread by humans, which can be prevented.”

Adult specimens were collected from each of the five counties earlier this month and tentatively identified as being emerald ash borers. Texas A&M Forest Service sent them to the USDA Department Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) national lab for confirmatory identification. Lab results for all specimens tested positive as EAB.

Texas A&M Forest Service sets traps and proactively monitors for the emerald ash borer each year.

“Since 2018, we annually deploy nearly 500 traps across Central, East and North Texas watching for the insect’s presence and movement,” Smith said. “Both healthy and unhealthy ash trees are susceptible to EAB attack and have no natural resistance to the invasive insect. Without proper proactive measures, mortality can be 100% in heavily infested areas — so early detection could improve our chances to manage for the pest.”

Once the presence of emerald ash borer is confirmed in a county, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) assumes regulatory responsibility which includes the establishment of quarantines. The state’s mandatory quarantine by TDA restricts movement of any woody ash material exiting the county or quarantined area.

Because the emerald ash borer transported unintentionally on firewood and wood products, the quarantine helps slow the beetle’s spread by restricting the movement of wood in and out of affected areas, said Demian Gomez, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Forest Health Coordinator.

All species of ash are susceptible to the destructive emerald ash borer. Infested trees die within two to five years after infestation.

“There is no known way to stop to the spread of EAB,” Gomez said. “But we can help communities minimize loss, diversify their tree species and increase the health and resiliency of urban forests.”

Texas A&M Forest Service has resources available to help affected communities identify signs of emerald ash borer infestation, as well as make decisions about preventative measures they can take and how to handle tree management and removal.

The agency will work with communities on state quarantines of the movement of wood into and out of the area. These quarantines are standard protocols with such infestations and in Texas are set by TDA.

For more information on the emerald ash borer in Texas, visit

For information from TDA on EAB quarantine, visit this explainer from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

To report emerald ash borer, please call the EAB Hotline at 1-866-322-4512.

About The Emerald Ash Borer In Texas

The emerald ash borer is a destructive, non‐native, wood‐boring pest that targets ash trees. Native to Asia, forest health experts have been monitoring its movement across the United States since 2002. It has spread to more than half the states in America — and killed millions of ash trees. The beetle was first detected in Texas in 2016 in Harrison County in northeast Texas. Since then, EAB has been positively confirmed in Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Marion, Morris, Parker, Rusk, Tarrant, Titus and Wise counties.

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