The Emerald Ash Borer Meeting in Forest City Puts Cities on Alert

A meeting in Forest City on Thursday of last week on the Emerald Ash Borer went over how to identify the bug, learning of ash tree infestation, along with treatment and prevention. The borer works quickly in infesting and killing of ash trees and fears are that they bug will spread into the area shortly.

The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in 10 counties in Iowa, none of which are beside the other, and are thought to be spreading rapidly throughout the state. Quarantines are in place in those ten counties, but it appears the insect is still able to move throughout the region. The Emerald Ash Borer is thought to have arrived in the United States in wooden cargo crates which were probably made of ash which were believed to have been manufactured in Asia where the bug originates from.

Emerald Ash Borer infestation according to the USDA.
Emerald Ash Borer infestation according to the USDA.

Officials say that 2002 the borer was found in in Windsor, Ontario, and in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois and Maryland in 2006, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2007, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia in the summer of 2008, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky in the spring of 2009, Iowa in the spring of 2010, Tennessee in the summer of 2010, Connecticut, Kansas, and Massachusetts in the summer of 2012, New Hampshire in the spring of 2013, North Carolina and Georgia in the summer of 2013, Colorado in the fall of 2013, New Jersey in the spring of 2014, and Arkansas in the summer of 2014. Since its discovery, the Emerald Ash Borer infestation has destroyed or killed tens of millions of ash trees in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The USDA has enforced quarantines in each of these states in hopes of trying to minimize the damage caused by the bug. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. They bore trails underneath the bark as shown below. These trails cut off water and nutrient supplies to the rest of the tree.


A tell tale sign that they have infested an ash tree is by the holes it leaves on the outside of the tree. The borer typically leaves a “D” hole formation in the bark of the tree. This is because one side of the bug is flat while the other side of the bug is round.


Twelve counties in Iowa have been found to be infested with concentrated areas in Waterloo and the Quad Cities. This is because officials think that the bug was transported to the counties through firewood. The Department of Natural Resources has issues a quarantine of the entire state which means that firewood cannot be transported in and out of the state. Officials would like to limit transportation of firewood to within county borders.

For ash tree owners there is as yet another sign that the EAB has infested n ash tree. While the young larvae attack at the base of the tree underneath the bark, the adult bugs travel to the top of the tree and begin to consume the leaves of the tree. They will make their way down to the bottom of the tree as they consume the leaves entirely. This will leave bare spots at the top of the tree that seemingly expand to the base of the tree as time progresses.

There are treatment options which include granules and heavy watering, tree injection, a special pesticide applied with buckets of water at the base of the tree, or just simply cutting the tree down entirely. Hauling away the infected wood may become a problem and we will explain that issue in an upcoming article.

If a property owner wants to find out more about the EAB, they should contact the Winnebago County Conservation Board during regular business hours.