The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is continuing its program to detect a potentially deadly pest to trees that’s been spotted in neighboring states. The emerald ash borer feeds on and eventually kills ash trees.
State entomologist Robin Pruisner says they have about 450 sticky traps in eastern far Iowa. She says they are just taking the traps down now and it will take a couple of months to get them down and evaluate them.
Pruisner says there has been no evidence of the beetle in Iowa, although it has recently been discovered in Wisconsin and Missouri. Pruisner says it’s important to identify the ash borer as soon as possible.
Pruisner says they’ve learned the beetle for some reason is capable of infesting an area, and it’s very difficult to locate, and so they are able to do some damage before being discovered. Pruisner says firewood is one of the biggest threats to allowing the pest into Iowa.
Pruisner says there are individuals moving firewood, and also chain stores moving firewood. She says they have some control over the stores moving firewood, so the biggest threat is people bringing in contaminated firewood from out of state. Pruisner says you should buy firewood at your destination and not carry firewood with you.
Pruisner says crews will continue removing the borer traps throughout August to check for signs of infestation. They also have 400 sentinel or "trap" tree intentionally stressed to attract ash borers that will be checked in September. You can go to the website www.iowatreepests.com to find out more about the emerald ash borer and other tree pests.