Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources report the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Creston, in Union County. It’s the fifth location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. EAB kills all ash tree species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.

The current EAB infestation was found as a result of an arborist contacting state officials about a suspect ash tree. Investigation by the Iowa EAB Team members revealed characteristic galleries and D-shaped exit holes in dead branches, and a partial adult beetle was positively identified by federal identifiers.

EAB infestations had previously been discovered in Allamakee County in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in August 2013 and Cedar County in October 2013. A quarantine covering 25 counties in Eastern Iowa was issued on Nov. 1, 2013 intended to slow the accidental movement of EAB by humans.  An additional quarantine in response to this new confirmed infestation is being developed. A quarantine restricts movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of the quarantined counties.

The Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

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 the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. It is unknown how many public and residential ash trees are located in Creston.