Tree-Killing Insect Has 25 Iowa Counties Under Quarantine

Tree-Killing Insect Has 25 Iowa Counties Under Quarantine

Iowa Department of Agriculture announces quarantine of firewood and ash tree products for 25 counties in eastern Iowa.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on November 1 announced a quarantine of 25 counties in Eastern Iowa has been issued to help prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer or EAB, a destructive insect that kills ash trees. There have now been confirmed EAB infestations of the beetle in four Eastern Iowa counties.

"This regional quarantined is designed to help prevent the spread of this destructive insect while hopefully allowing businesses to continue to function," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "This quarantine is established to make sure that any ash tree products that leave these counties do not spread the pest."

EMERALD ASH BORER: The quarantines are designed to keep this insect from spreading by restricting shipments of firewood or nursery plants out of the affected areas. Iowa residents are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread this pest even further.

Quarantine information—what cannot be moved from the quarantined counties?

The regulated articles under the quarantine include EAB at any living state; entire ash trees; firewood of any hardwood species; any cut or fallen material of the ash; non-heat treated ash lumber with either bark or sapwood attached; and hardwood wood or bark chips larger than one inch in two dimension.

The quarantine orders that the regulated articles cannot be moved from a county included in the quarantine unless a permit has been issued by either the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—APHIS. Or, if the article has been treated to exterminate any pests under the supervision of USDA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The counties included in the quarantine are: Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, Clayton, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Linn, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Johnson, Cedar, Scott, Keokuk, Washington, Muscatine, Louisa, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren, and Lee.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

A full copy of the quarantine can be found on the state ag department's website under the "Hot Topics" section.

EAB Overview—beetle was first discovered in Iowa in May 2010 when an infestation was reported in Allamakee County

The invasive EAB beetle has been positively identified in four locations in eastern Iowa. Allamakee County was declared infested in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in August 2013 and Cedar County in October 2013.

EAB kills all ash species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America, says Robin Pruisner, entomologist with the state ag department in Des Moines. The bug burrows under the bark and essentially strangles the tree. The affected counties are under quarantine indefinitely. As long as the threat of the pest is in place, the quarantine is on-going. There have been quarantines in other states that have had this pest that have lasted for years.

It takes about two to five years for an infested tree to die, says Pruisner. How quickly the problem is spreading is tricky to gauge. "The insect itself moves maybe a few miles a year, but when trees start to die, people use it as firewood, and that's the main vehicle for spreading of the pest," she explains. EAB can get established quickly. It's a very destructive pest and there really isn't a very effective treatment, in terms of insecticides.

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 U.S. have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa's tree population, visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture's Iowa Tree Pests page.

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