Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Mechanicsville in northern Cedar County, making this the fourth location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. Allamakee County was declared infested in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, and Jefferson County in August 2013.
EAB kills all ash species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.
With four total EAB finds in eastern Iowa, officials are considering a regionalized quarantine to slow the accidental movement of EAB by humans. This regulatory action restricts movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips out of the quarantined counties. “I think we’re seeing the culmination of an EAB population that is finally large enough to detect, coupled with trees readily showing symptoms because of multiple stresses, including EAB, drought and floods occurring in recent years,” said State Entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).
Pruisner said all Iowans are strongly cautioned 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.
The current EAB infestation was found as a result of a resident contacting local officials about declining ash trees. Investigation by the Iowa EAB Team members revealed larvae in multiple trees in the area. The EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners.This team includes officials from IDALS, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.
“Preventive treatments next spring — mid-April to mid-May 2014 — are available to protect vigorously healthy and valuable ash trees within 15 miles of the known infested area,” said ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologist Mark Shour. For more details, see ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM2084, www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf.
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 Mechanicsville.
To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population, please visit www.IowaTreePests.com.