DES MOINES, Iowa – Emerald ash borer, the invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, has been confirmed in Adair and Adams counties.
The beetle native to Asia has now been found in 28 states after being discovered in Detroit, Michigan, in 2002. Nine Iowa counties have been added this year to the list of 38 total counties where the destructive pest has been found. Iowa first confirmed the presence in 2010.
The recent discoveries were at Lake Orient Recreation Area and a rural area north of Cromwell. Larvae were taken from both sites and later positively identified as emerald ash borer.
“It is particularly difficult to battle an invasive species like emerald ash borer,” said Mike Kintner, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship emerald ash borer and gypsy moth coordinator, in a news release. “One thing people can do to help with this effort is avoid transporting firewood.”
The Iowa emerald ash borer team strongly urges residents to use local firewood, burning it in the same county where they bought it. Firewood is a vehicle for the beetle’s movement — an adult can also fly short distances of about 2-5 miles.
The adult beetle is metallic green and about a half inch long. The larval stage of the wood-boring insect tunnels under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, causing the tree to die. Infested trees display canopy die-back starting at the top of the tree heading down, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, water sprouts along the trunk and branches and increased woodpecker activity.
If a landowner is interested in protecting an ash tree within 15 miles of a known infestation, he or she should have landscape and tree service companies bid on work, review the bids this fall and winter and treat beginning this spring in April to mid-May, state officials recommend.
Officials will continue tracking the movement on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, a sample must be collected by a member of the emerald ash borer team and verified by USDA entomologists.