CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - State forestry officials say an invasive wood-boring beetle has spread to more than a dozen counties in Virginia, threatening millions of ash trees.
The emerald ash borer is a native of Asia first detected in the U.S. 10 years ago. It has now spread to the following counties: Pittsylvania, Halifax, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Lee, Buchanan, Hanover, Warren, Caroline, Prince Edward, Giles, Loudoun and Stafford.
The pest had previously been confirmed in three northern Virginia counties: Arlington, Prince William and Frederick.
Chris Asaro is a forest health specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. He says the beetle is capable of killing all 187 million native ash trees in Virginia.
Ash is valued statewide at $170 million.