Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in 3 More Iowa Counties

Invasive pest confirmed in Fremont, Lyon, and Wright counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (April 20, 2021) – Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Fremont, Lyon and Wright counties for the first time. This invasive insect has now been found in 80 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Insect samples were collected from ash trees in rural Farragut (Fremont County), rural Inwood (Lyon County) and rural Dows (Wright County). Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed these samples positive for EAB.

EAB is a significant threat to all species of ash trees. The wood-boring pest tunnels just beneath the bark in the vascular tissue, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients. Infested trees usually die within two to four years.

Indicators of an infestation may include canopy thinning, leafy sprouts shooting from the trunk or main branches, serpentine (“S”-shaped) galleries under the bark, bark splitting, woodpecker damage and 1/8 inch D-shaped exit holes.

Now is the time to decide a course of action for ash trees at risk of EAB attack (within 15 miles of a known infestation). Landowners and managers can choose to wait and see what happens, remove declining ash trees and replace them with other species, or use preventive insecticide treatments to preserve and protect valuable and healthy ash trees. Spring, from mid-April to mid-May, is the best time to treat for EAB. Insecticides are most effective when the ash tree is actively growing and uptake is at its peak. Tree service companies can apply insecticide trunk injections through the summer if soil moisture is available.

See Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication PM2084, Emerald Ash Borer Management Options, for more details about EAB treatment.

The State of Iowa monitors the spread of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be declared positive, a life stage of the insect must be collected and confirmed. Anyone who suspects an infested ash tree in a new location is encouraged to contact one of the following:

  • Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, State Entomologist Office: 515-725-1470
  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Entomology: 515-294-1101
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources: 515-725-8453

The beetle flies short distances on its own, but people have contributed to the spread of this pest by moving infested material, including firewood. EAB can unknowingly be transported beneath the bark of firewood. Use locally sourced firewood where it will be burned to help limit the spread of EAB.

Additional information on EAB, including known locations in Iowa, can be found at iowatreepests.com.

For more information, contact any of the following members of the Iowa EAB Team:

Laura Iles, ISU Extension and Outreach entomologist, ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, 515-294-0581, ljesse@iastate.edu


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) | April 20, 2021

Map of Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Consideration Areas in Iowa | April 20, 2021


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

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Don McDowell
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