Supervisors Approve Forest Pest Management Plan for 2011

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a forest pest management plan for the year.

The plan authorizes the county’s foresters to continue combating insects and diseases that are currently affecting trees, as well as develop management plans for potential pests that may reach the county.

Because of the success of the treatment programs during the past two years, the county will not need to conduct ground or aerial spraying for the gypsy moth or fall cankerworm this year.

Gypsy moth infestations are low this year, although all insect populations go through cyclical highs and lows. Since 2002, the fall cankerworm has not caused any significant problems, but foresters continue to monitor for this pest.

To assist the state, the county will continue to track the spread of the emerald ash borer, which is originally from Asia. Glue traps are hung in ash trees across the county starting in the spring to track the movement of this invasive pest. The borer was discovered in Fairfax County in 2008, and these insects have killed more than 25 million ash trees in the U.S.

Potential pests

Staff also will be developing management and suppression plans for the following potential pests:

  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
  • Thousand Canker Disease of Black Walnut
  • Sudden Oak Death Disease
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle

The woolly adelglid kills eastern hemlocks, which are rarely found in the county. Foresters will continue to monitor for this insect.

Thousand Cankers Disease, Sudden Oak Death and the Asian longhorned beetle have not been found in the county yet. However, staff will develop monitoring, management and suppression plans in case these pests are discovered.

Citizen actions

To prevent the spread of forest pests, county residents can take one simple action — don’t move firewood anywhere outside the county. In fact, state and federal quarantines currently ban taking hardwood firewood outside of Northern Virginia into other parts of the state. The penalties for violating the quarantines are up to $250,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.

For more information about insects and diseases that affect trees, visit the Forest Pest Web pages.