HARRISONBURG, Virginia — Shenandoah National Park officials say the destructive emerald ash borer has spread to three new Virginia counties in the park.
Park officials announced Thursday that surveillance traps confirm that the insect is now in Madison, Rappahannock and Rockingham counties.
Officials say the discoveries are a significant jump from last year's detections in Warren and Page counties.
Park Superintendent Jim Northup says the insect has been moving south faster than expected.
The emerald ash borer is a half-inch-long metallic green beetle that lays eggs on the bark of ash trees. After hatching, the larvae burrow under the bark, eventually killing the tree. Five percent of the trees in park are ash.
Officials encourage campers to buy and burn firewood at local campsites rather than transporting it from distant locations.