Halifax County, VA -- Experts are saying it is one of the worst infestations by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle in Virginia, and it's killing trees all over the Southside.
The particular destructive beetle comes from Asia. Bug experts say that it likely came to the Southside around three to five years ago, but we are just now seeing the effects.
"Emerald Ash Borer could potentially wipe out the Ash species as we know it in Virginia," said Jason Fisher with the Extension Agent For Forestry and Natural Resources with VA Cooperative Extension.
That has experts worried because the Emerald Ash Borer beetle has claimed Southside Ash trees as their new home, forcing a quarantine on all of Southside.
"Trees have been weakened because of a flooded area and because the trees are weak the Emerald Ash Borer has honed in on that weakness and has decimated and killed that stand," said Fisher.
While you don't see too many ash trees in the region, Extension Agent Jason Fisher says its decline could have an impact.
"It's an issue in that we are losing our saw timber volume that maybe could be salvaged," said Fisher.
Still, Huber Engineered Woods suspects otherwise.
"Any species that we have in the state of course is important to our industry but we don't believe it's going to be a significant problem for the forest products industry," said Brad Fuller, senior wood procurement manager for Huber Engineered Woods.
The Virginia Cooperative Extensions is asking everyone to look out for the insects and report damage. One way you can definitely tell if it is an Emerald Ash Borer is it drills this letter D into the bark. Now that the beetles have infested the area, few options remain for the tree's fate.
"A salvage cut is about it to try to save some trees and get some value out of them otherwise the trees are usually left to die," said Fisher.
They also ask that you not bring firewood on camping trips, rather buy local firewood to prevent spreading the insect.