Efforts to scout portions of Northeast Iowa for the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) have intensified following the submission of an EAB larva to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The larva was reportedly from Clayton County, however no additional EAB larvae have been found and no signs of infestation have been spotted in the immediate area. As a result, an EAB infestation cannot yet be confirmed.
The EAB larva was reportedly found in a small sentinel tree at the Osborne Welcome and Nature Center in Clayton County. The tree was established by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with funding from the U.S. Forest Service.
This week, officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, DNR and Iowa State University Extension have been conducting extensive scouting of the tree and around the Osborne Center, located approximately five miles south of Elkader and approximately 60 miles southwest of where an EAB infestation was confirmed in Wisconsin in early April of this year.
Additional experts are returning to the area in the upcoming weeks to place traps in the immediate and surrounding area, during the next one-two weeks, to determine if an EAB infestation is present in the area.
EAB detection in Iowa was the result of collaborative team members looking for this pest since 2003. From visual surveys, to sentinel trees, to nursery stock inspection, to sawmill/wood processing site visits, and hundreds of educational venues (meetings, phone calls, written correspondence, media interviews, and one-on-one conversations), the Iowa EAB team has been working to spread the word about this invasive insect and to protect the state.
Officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University Extension will host two public meetings Tuesday, June 16, at the Osborne Center about this discovery. The officials will meet with timber industry representatives 1 p.m. and then host a public meeting for residents that evening at 6:30 p.m.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is native to the Orient, and was introduced in the United States near Detroit, Mich. in the 1990s. EAB kills all ash species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing layers of the trees.
The metallic-green adult beetles are a half-inch long, and are active from May to August. 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.
"We started our scouting efforts in the park where the larva was reportedly found and are spreading outwards. We have a five-mile radius grid that is going to be thoroughly investigated for any additional signs of EAB," said Robin Pruisner, state entomologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
If an infestation is ultimately confirmed in Iowa, officials have a plan is in place to help stop the spread of EAB that would include a quarantine prohibiting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber or any other article that could spread EAB from infested areas.
Clayton County is one of the top producers of forest products in Iowa. The county has an estimated 66 million woodland trees and an estimated 6.6 million ash trees.
EAB has been killing 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 the Iowa DNR, 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 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. Areas currently infested are under federal and state quarantines, but unknowing campers or others who transport firewood can spark an outbreak. As a result, 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 visit www.IowaTreePests.com or http://www.iowadnr.gov/forestry/eab/index.html.