Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in the Kansas City area, bringing the beetle one step closer to Nebraska.
The Missouri Departments of Agriculture and Conservation and the USDA recently announced that emerald ash borer had been confirmed near Parkville, Mo., about 7 miles northwest of Kansas City. This confirmation puts EAB fewer than 100 miles from Nebraska.
"The recent confirmation means we need to take this pest seriously, even though there have not been confirmed findings in Nebraska," says Mark Harrell, Nebraska Forest Service forest health program leader. "Identifying our trees at risk here in Nebraska is critical, and informing the public, community leaders and decision makers about the risk to those ash trees and preparing for the arrival of this very serious pest is now much more urgent."
Experts estimate EAB has killed more than 50 million ash trees since it was first detected in Michigan in 2002. In the U.S., EAB is present in Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia. In Canada, EAB has been confirmed in Ontario and Quebec.
EAB is a non-native, or invasive, insect that attacks and kills all native ash species, including white, green, black and autumn purple. The beetle kills ash trees by disrupting their ability to transport water and nutrients.
EAB larvae, which are cream-colored and approximately 1-1/4 inches long, feed on the tissues just below the bark, creating winding tunnels. This feeding disrupts the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients, and eventually kills the tree.
Adult insects, which are metallic green and about 1/2-inch long, emerge in June and July, leaving D-shaped exit holes in the tree's bark.
Symptoms of EAB include canopy dieback that typically begins in the top one-third of the canopy, sprouting from the base of the tree, bark splitting, winding galleries below the bark, D-shaped exit holes and increased woodpecker activity.