Emerald Ash Borer Arrives

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

Emerald Ash Borers on Verge of Entering Iowa

eabOn Tuesday, April 7, 2009, and in response to a discovery of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Wisconsin, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS) issued a press release on behalf of the Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team to highlighted ongoing steps being taken to prevent an infestation in Iowa and detect the beetle if it is in the state. EAB is an invasive beetle that feeds on ash trees and eventually kills them. The new infestation was found near Victory, Wis. on the east bank of the Mississippi River across from Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa. This new infestation is less than 5 miles southeast of the Minnesota-Iowa border. The Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team includes officials from IDALS, Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USDA Forest Service.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is native to the Asia, and was introduced in the United States near Detroit, Mich. in the 1990s. Although not yet found in Iowa, EAB has more potential for future harm to Iowa forests and urban communities than any other insect currently being dealt with in the United States. EAB kills all ash (Fraxinus) species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing (cambium) layers of the trees. EAB has been killing trees of various sizes in neighborhoods and woodlands across the Midwest. Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to recent sources, Iowa has an estimated 58 million rural ash trees and approximately 30 more million urban ash trees.

The movement of out-of-state firewood to and through Iowa poses the greatest threat to spread EAB. Areas currently infested are under federal and state quarantines, but unknowing campers or others who transport firewood can spark an outbreak. Each member of the Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team is taking steps to monitor Iowa’s ash trees and ensure that the beetle has not spread into Iowa by examining high risk sites. The Iowa EAB team has defined high risk sites as locations where people would bring out-of state wood, such as campgrounds, nurseries and sawmills. DNR estimates there are up to as many as 5 million ash trees in Allamakee County, this represents about 5% of the trees in the forested areas of this county. Allamakee is the most forested county in Iowa with 42% of the land covered by trees (176,000 acres of forest). Iowa agencies in cooperation with USDA-APHIS and Forest Service will be working together to survey for EAB.

Monitoring efforts include visual surveys at high risk sites by Iowa State University, DNR’s placement of sentinel ash trees that are intentionally stressed so that they are more attractive to EAB, and the placement of purple sticky traps around the state that attracts and traps the insect by a collaborative effort among APHIS and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Team members will be working with Wisconsin and Minnesota officials in response to this new discovery and will be conducting additional visual surveys in the area in the coming weeks.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population please visit www.IowaTreePests.com. For more information contact:

  • Robin Pruisner, is the State Entomologist and can be reached at (515) 725-1465 or by e-mail at Robin.Pruisner@IowaAgriculture.gov.
  • Tivon Feeley, with DNR Forest Health, can be reached at (515) 281-4915 or by e-mail at Tivon.feeley@dnr.iowa.gov.
  • Jesse Randall, ISU Extension Forester, can be reached at (515) 294-1168 or by email at Randallj@iastate.edu.
  • Mark Shour, ISU Extension Entomologist, can be reached at (515) 294-5963 or by email at mshour@iastate.edu.
  • Laura Jesse, ISU Entomologist at the ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic, at (515) 294-0581 or by email at ljesse@iastate.edu.
  • Donald Lewis, ISU Entomologist, can be reached at (515) 294-1101 or by email at drlewis@iastate.edu.