Emerald Ash Borer (photo/ISU Extension)

Emerald Ash Borer (photo/ISU Extension)

MECHANICSVILLE – We knew it was only a matter of time before the devastating emerald ash borer would make its way across Iowa.

This time, the invasive beetle has been positively identified in a residential tree in Mechanicsville in northern Cedar County, the fourth location in Iowa. Allamakee County was declared infested in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, and Jefferson County in August 2013.

Local experts at Marion-based Trees Forever have been partnering with communities to prepare for the threat of Emerald Ash Borer, but more needs to be done.

Shannon Ramsay, founding president and CEO of Trees Forever, stated that the beetle is considered one of the most destructive tree pests in North America.

“Emerald Ash Borer has killed millions of trees in several states already and has become an emerging threat to ash trees in Iowa,” Ramsay said. “Governments and property owners need to understand the steps they can take to address this serious issue. Please talk with your legislators about the need for funding to help communities with tree removal and replacement.”

Trees Forever advises the following for land owners:

• Identify ash trees on your property.

• Stay abreast of treatment information. (There is no cure, only prevention.) If Emerald Ash Borer is within 15 miles, consider treatment of ash trees.

• Do not treat ash trees if Emerald Ash Borer has not been found within 15 miles. This is most likely a waste of time and money.

• Most importantly, to prevent a future EAB-type problem, plant a diverse mix of trees and plants.

Here is more from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

Emerald Ash Borer kills all ash species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.

With four total EAB finds in eastern Iowa, officials are considering a regionalized quarantine to slow the accidental movement of EAB by humans. This regulatory action restricts movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips out of the quarantined counties. “I think we’re seeing the culmination of an EAB population that is finally large enough to detect, coupled with trees readily showing symptoms because of multiple stresses, including EAB, drought and floods occurring in recent years,” said State Entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS),

Pruisner said all Iowans are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

The current EAB infestation was found as a result of a resident contacting local officials about declining ash trees. Investigation by the Iowa EAB Team members revealed larvae in multiple trees in the area.  The EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners. This team includes officials from IDALS, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.

“Preventive treatments next spring — mid-April to mid-May 2014 — are available to protect vigorously healthy and valuable ash trees within 15 miles of the known infested area,” said ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologist Mark Shour. For more details, see ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM2084, www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf<http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf>.

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 USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. It is unknown how many public and residential ash trees are located in Mechanicsville.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population, please visit www.IowaTreePests.com<http://www.iowatreepests.com/>. Or, for more information contact any of the following members of the Iowa EAB Team:
§  Robin Pruisner, State Entomologist, 515-725-1470, Robin.Pruisner@IowaAgriculture.gov<mailto:Robin.Pruisner@IowaAgriculture.gov>
§  Tivon Feeley, DNR Forest Health Coordinator, 515-281-4915, Tivon.feeley@dnr.iowa.gov<mailto:Tivon.feeley@dnr.iowa.gov>
§  Emma Hanigan, DNR Urban Forest Coordinator, 515-281-5600, emma.hanigan@dnr.iowa.gov<mailto:emma.hanigan@dnr.iowa.gov>
§  Jesse Randall, ISU Extension Forester, 515-294-1168, Randallj@iastate.edu<mailto:Randallj@iastate.edu>
§  Mark Shour, ISU Extension Entomologist, 515-294-5963, mshour@iastate.edu<mailto:mshour@iastate.edu>
§  Laura Jesse, ISU Extension Entomologist, ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, 515-294-0581, ljesse@iastate.edu<mailto:ljesse@iastate.edu>
§  Donald Lewis, ISU Extension Entomologist, 515-294-1101, drlewis@iastate.edu<mailto:drlewis@iastate.edu>.
§  Jeff Iles, ISU Extension Horticulturist, 515-294-3718, iles@iastate.edu<mailto:iles@iastate.edu>


This Frequently Asked Questions/Answers on Emerald Ash Borer was prepared by Mark Shour, Laura Jesse and Donald Lewis of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Oct. 3, 2013

  1. What is the emerald ash borer? It is a very small, shiny green beetle (½ inch long x ⅛ inch wide; about the size of Mr. Lincoln’s image on a penny).
  2. What does EAB eat? Hosts are species (and cultivars) of ash in the genus Fraxinus. Hosts include green ash (e.g., ‘Marshall Seedless’, ‘Patmore’, and ‘Summit’), white ash (e.g., Autumn Purple®), black ash, blue ash, and pumpkin ash. Manchurian and Chinese ash trees are primary hosts in its homeland [Eurasia]. Mountain ashes (Sorbus species) are NOT hosts.
  3. Where is EAB from?This beetle is native to Asia and is found in China and Korea. It also has been reported in Japan, Mongolia, the Russian Far East, and Taiwan. EAB arrived in the United States sometime before 2002 in wood packing materials.
  4. How did it get to Mechanicsville, Iowa?Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants, or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances (2 to 5 miles).
  5. Should I be concerned about EAB?Yes. It kills ash trees, usually in 2-4 years. In the Midwest, millions of ash trees have been killed by EAB since 2002. It is unknown how many public and residential ash trees are located in Mechanicsville.
  6. How do I know if I have an ash tree in my yard? Check on tree identification at: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=1482 and http://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/tree_id.html
  7. How do I know if my tree is infested?Look for the following symptoms:
    1. Thinning or dying branches in the top of the tree
    2. Water sprouts (suckers) halfway up the trunk
    3. Feeding notches on edge of leaflets
    4. Woodpecker feeding sites/many bark flakes on lawn
    5. S-shaped feeding galleries under bark
    6. D-shaped exit holes (1/8 inch diameter)


  1. Who can help me determine if my tree is infested?Local authorities you can contact if you suspect EAB in your tree:
    1. Iowa DNR Forester 319-462-2768
    2. Cedar County Extension Office 563-886-6157


  1. Who should be thinking about treating ash trees? If you are a homeowner within 15 miles of Mechanicsville you can evaluate the health of your tree, and if it is healthy you can consider treatment next year. If you are not in a known infested area, we do not recommend treatment at this time.
  2. Ash borer management options www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf
    1. Ash trees can be protected with insecticide applied by a commercial pesticide applicator or the homeowner. Trees must be healthy, vigorously growing, and valuable to your landscape.
    2. Most of the treatments must be done each year for the life of the tree. Treatment may not be effective due to past injuries to the tree, soil moisture, soil compaction, and other site and environmental factors.
    3. Preventive treatments are most effective. Infested trees with less than 40% dieback of the crown might be saved.
    4. Preventive treatments for EAB are NOT recommended until a confirmed EAB site is 15 miles away. Treatment outside this risk zone is not prudent.
    5. Systemic insecticides require time and active tree growth for distribution in the ash tree. Most products must be applied in early spring to be effective. An additional fall treatment may be required for larger trees.
    6. Canopy sprays are NOT recommended by ISU Extension and Outreach because of limited effectiveness, the need for specialized equipment, spray drift, and possible adverse effects to nontarget organisms.
  3. If I am contacted by a pesticide applicator to treat ash trees for EAB at this time, what course should I take?Mid- to late summer is TOO LATE to apply a treatment. Next spring (mid-April to mid-May), IF you live within 15 miles of a confirmed EAB infested site, get an estimate for the treatment. Try to obtain at least one additional estimate before any work is done. IF you live outside the risk zone, thank the applicator for showing interest and keep the company information on file.
  4. Where else has EAB been found in Iowa? Four counties have been identified as having EAB infestations:
    1. Allamakee – The northeast Iowa infestations have been found in New Albin and Lansing, IA, as well as at Black Hawk Point and Plough Slough wildlife areas.
    2. Des Moines – One urban tree in Burlington was initially identified as EAB infested on July 10, 2013.
    3. Jefferson – One urban tree in Fairfield was initially identified as EAB infested on July 24, 2013.
    4. Cedar – Multiple trees identified on September 26, 2013.


  1. Now that EAB has come to Iowa, is there some plan to manage/contain this pest? Yes, a detailed plan has been developed by collaborative agencies. This plan provides the stepwise actions to be taken to contain the pest, and the agencies responsible for the various anticipated actions. The EAB Response Plan and other current Iowa information about EAB are given at: www.extension.iastate.edu/pme/EmeraldAshBorer.html
  2. What does the EAB quarantine mean? A quarantine by state and U.S. agriculture departments means that hardwood firewood, ash logs, and wood chips cannot be moved out of the area without a permit. Homeowners must not remove their ash tree or firewood from their tree to an area outside the quarantine. Tree removal companies must not haul logs or firewood outside the quarantine area unless inspected and treated as required by the regulations. For more information on how a quarantine will impact your business, contact USDA at 515-251-4083 if moving wood products outside of Iowa, and IDALS at 515-725-1470 if moving wood products within Iowa.
  3. What should a homeowner or tree care company do with ash trees cut down in or near the infested area? At this time the preferred disposal method is to use the wood within the quarantined area. Plans are being developed for residents to dispose of wood waste (twigs, brush, limbs, and branches).
  4. What general recommendations are available to communities?The Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Forestry Bureau has worked with several communities to deal with EAB infestations. Contact Tivon Feeley (515-281-4915) or Emma Hanigan (515-281-5600) for more information.


  1. Where can I find current information about EAB on the Internet? Sites to gather current information about this exotic pest include:
    1. National site: www.emeraldashborer.info
    2. ISU Extension and Outreach: www.extension.iastate.edu/pme/EmeraldAshBorer.html
    3. IDALS: www.IowaTreePests.com
    4. IDNR: www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/Forestry/ForestHealth/EmeraldAshBorer.aspx