The Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team--which has been on the lookout for this destructive insect pest for the past several years--confirmed on May 14 that Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Iowa. An invasive pest that kills ash trees, the ash borer has been discovered in Iowa along the banks of the Mississippi River in the far northeast corner of Iowa.
The place where it has been discovered in Iowa is two miles south of the Minnesota border, in Allamakee County. The land is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is the first confirmed EAB infestation in Iowa. Officials of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and other state agency officials held a press conference last week in Des Moines and made the announcement of the discovery.
Four EAB larvae were found in one ash tree by members of Iowa's EAB team during a survey of the area following the recent announcement that the beetle had been found just across the Minnesota border. An infestation in the nearby town of Victory, Wis. was discovered in 2009.
This is the first confirmed EAB infestation in Iowa
A quarantine prohibiting the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber, or any other article that could further spread EAB is pending from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. A federal quarantine would follow the state quarantine.
Iowa State University Extension has issued a separate news release providing EAB management recommendations for homeowners. (See website at end of this news article for more specific information and recommendations).
This detection of EAB in Iowa was the result of collaborative effort of various agencies and organizations that have been looking for this pest since 2003. Detection efforts have included visual surveys, sentinel trees, trap surveys, nursery stock inspections, sawmill/wood processing site visits, and hundreds of educational programs.
Monitoring effort by state continues to watch for pest
This year EAB team members are in the process of placing 1,800 purple traps at high-risk areas in the state, including in a 1.5 mile grid along the Mississippi River. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also has 412 trap trees in the state this year, 12 of which are in Allamakee County.
The Emerald Ash Borer is native to eastern Asia, and it was first detected in the U.S. near Detroit, Mich. in 2002. EAB kills all ash (Fraxinus) species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing layers.
The metallic-green adult beetles are a half inch long, and are active from late-May to early-August in Iowa. Signs of EAB infestation include one-eighth inch D-shaped exit holes in ash tree bark and serpentine tunnels packed with sawdust under the bark. Tree symptoms of an infestation include crown thinning and dieback when first noticed, epicormic sprouting as insect damage progresses, and woodpecker feeding.
Movement of firewood is greatest threat of spreading the pest
EAB has killed ash trees of various sizes in neighborhoods and woodlands throughout 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 million more ash trees in urban areas.
The Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team includes officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USDA Forest Service.
The movement of firewood throughout Iowa and to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Areas currently infested are under federal and state quarantines, but unknowing campers or other people who transport firewood can spark an outbreak. As a result, state officials are asking Iowans to not move firewood and instead buy wood where they are staying and burn it completely.
To learn more about EAB you are urged to visit the following websites: