Emerald ash borer discovered in Boone; Story County watching closely

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
Emerald ash borer discovered in Boone; Story County watching closely

-By Anthony Capps

Ames Tribune

The emerald ash borer has been found a little closer to Story County, but officials monitoring the movement of the invasive bug say the discovery will have little effect on their surveillance activities.

It was announced last week that the emerald ash borer, a dime-sized green beetle native to Asia that feeds off ash trees, was found in Boone. In March, the insect was found in Jasper County.

Shane Donegan, an urban forest specialist with Prairie Rivers of Iowa who also works with the cities of Ames, Ankeny and Waukee, said the new finding doesn’t affect what the city is doing too much, but does increase awareness for the average citizen.

“The emerald ash borer is close,” he said. “This is a problem that will affect us sooner rather than later.”

The emerald ash borer attacks all types and sizes of ash trees by eating the leaves and laying eggs inside the tree.

The larva feed on the tree’s inner bark, which will kill the tree within a few years.

There are more than 2,000 ash trees in Ames, Donegan said. The city hasn’t created on a

plan of action, but one should be decided upon this fall.

There is a series of injections that can save the trees, but Donegan said they are expensive and must be continued about every two years as long as you want the tree to remain alive.

The emerald ash borer, which was first discoveredin the United States in 2002 in Michigan, was first found in Iowa in February, and the state was quickly quarantined to restrict the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states. One of the ways the beetles can move is by the shipping of firewood. They can also fly two to five miles.

The finding in Boone was comprised of two adult beetles that were trapped from a residential tree and confirmed by a federal identifier.

The condition of other ash trees in the community is being assessed and funding has been established for the removal of street trees as well as the purchase of specialized equipment to chip large diameter trees

If the emerald ash borer were found in Story County as early as the end of the week or next week, Donegan said it wouldn’t be a surprise.

“The EAB could be anywhere,” he said. “Before, it’s randomly popped up in Boulder, Colo., so it should be no surprise no matter where it is.”

The tracking of emerald ash borers has relied on public awareness and tree companies watching for signs, including the tops of the tree thinning, small D-shaped holes where adults have left, lighter flecks inside the bark and small sprouts.

A tree might have been infected, but the presence of an adult or larva is necessary for confirmation.

Because confirmation requires a federal lab, the testing process takes a few days.

The confirmation of EAB in Boone County increases the number of Iowa counties where the insect has been found to 12.