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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:00 pm

BEAUFORT — The discovery last week of a single log from a quarantined area and infested with a boring insect at the Atlantic Veneer plant on Lennoxville Road will likely result in federal fines.
Phillip Wilson, a plant test administrator with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said an ash log at the plant was discovered late Friday to have emerald ash borer larvae or agrilus planipennis, a green beetle native to Asia. It was found during a routine state inspection.
The log was one of about 76 logs from a quarantined area of Pennsylvania.
“There’s a pest problem from Virginia north,” Mr. Wilson said of the beetle.
Massachusetts and New York recently announced those states are expanding quarantines that regulate firewood and ash wood products to combat the spread of emerald ash borer. The beetle has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in about 20 Northeast and Midwest states.
At the plant outside Beaufort, state inspectors looked at Atlantic Veneer’s invoices for the past two years.
“We knew immediately where these logs came from. We’re now following up with the supplier,” Mr. Wilson said.
He said both Atlantic Veneer and the supplier could be subject to fines.
“It will probably be a violation due to the federal quarantine,” Mr. Wilson said, adding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would issue the violation.
The beetle is considered an invasive species that is highly destructive to trees.
The log was put in a vat of 200-degree water for about 24 hours to kill the larvae. Monitoring continued earlier this week.
Inspectors were here over the weekend and Monday, cleaning up and burning bark and other debris from the logs.
“We feel like everybody is in good shape now,” Mr. Wilson said Tuesday. “We did a survey around the area. There’s not a lot of ash trees in this area but once this pest infests an ash tree there’s really nothing you can do about it.”

Contact Mark Hibbs at 252-726-7081, ext. 229; email mark@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @markhibbs.

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