The emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Newton in Jasper County. That makes nine of the state’s 99 counties where the destructive pest has been identified. State Forester Mark Vitosh says the beetle has probably been around for awhile, but is just now being discovered. “This insect, it takes four or five years to show symptoms on the tree, so the pest is usually there, and when we start finding symptoms, it’s been there for four or five years,” according to Vitosh.
That means the discoveries are likely to continue. “I think it’s going to continue to roll down the road, as it has and we’ll continue to see this show up across the state,” Vitosh says. But, Vitosh says the end of ash trees won’t happen overnight. “I don’t think all hope is lost for ash trees, I think we need to realize we have over 50 million, so they’re not going to die tomorrow. We do have a lot of corn and beans between things, so they’re not going to fly and move real quick that way,” Vitosh says.
A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of ash tree firewood, logs, wood chips and nursery stock was issued in February to try and slow the movement as much as possible. Vitosh says the insect flies about a mile or two a year at most on its own, so you can help by not moving potentially infested wood products across the state.