DES MOINES — Emerald ash borers have been found for the first time in Jones, Chickasaw and Franklin counties, meaning infestations have been confirmed in 69 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Samples tested positive for the beetle in Anamosa (Jones County), New Hampton (Chickasaw County) and Hampton (Franklin County), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The non-native beetles attack and kill ash trees. They lay eggs on the bark of the trees. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae bore beneath the bark and begin feeding on the tree.
Infested trees typically die within two to four years.
Signs of an infestation include canopy thinning, water sprouts from the trunk or main branches, increased woodpecker activity, “S”-shaped galleries under the bark, vertical bark splitting and 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes.
The beetles can be spread through infested firewood. People are reminded to use locally sourced firewood to help reduce the spread of the insects.
Emerald ash borers were first discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in 2002 and have now spread to 35 states.
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The state monitors the spread of emerald ash borers on a county-by-county basis. Anyone who suspects an infested ash tree in a new location is encouraged to contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 725-1470; the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at (515) 725-8453; or Iowa State University Extension and Outreach at (515) 294-1101
To learn more about emerald ash borers and other pests that threaten Iowa trees, go to the Iowa Tree Pests website.