LADORA — Emerald ash borer, the highly destructive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees nationwide, has been confirmed in Iowa County.
This brings the number of infested counties in Iowa to 36, including much of Southeastern Iowa.
The discovery took place at Lake Iowa Park in Ladora, after Iowa County Conservation Board staff alerted state officials of ash trees showing symptoms of an emerald ash borer attack. Samples were collected and later positively identified.
Officials strongly urge Iowans to not transport firewood across county lines, as this is one way the metallic green, half-inch long bugs can spread.
“It would be pretty realistic to say that emerald ash borer did not make its way to Lake Iowa Park on its own, but by campers hauling in firewood,” said Mike Kintner, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship emerald ash borer and gypsy moth coordinator, in a media release. “Southeast Iowa appears to be the area hit hardest in the state by EAB, so infested firewood movement from a nearby county could very well been the contributing factor.”
Signs of infested ash trees include canopy dieback, beginning at the top of the tree and progressing downward; S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark; D-shaped exit holes; water sprouts along the trunk and main branches; and increased woodpecker activity.
Emerald ash borer, one of the most destructive forest pests ever in North America, kills all ash species by larvae burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing layers of the tree.
Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and about 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas, according to the USDA Forest Service.
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Earlier this year, infestation was reported for the first time in Johnson, Washington, Van Buren and Harrison counties.
For more information on emerald ash borer, visit www.iowatreepests.com