The emerald ash borer (EAB) is spreading across Iowa and scam artists are likely to follow. The destructive beetle, which kills ash trees, has been confirmed in 21 Iowa counties.
Donald Lewis, an entomologist at Iowa State University, is advising property owners who’d like to try and save their ash trees to only do business with certified arborists who are properly insured.
“So, a beat-up truck coming down your street offering a cheap treatment may not be your best option,” Lewis said. “So, as you’re approached with possibilities…it will pay to shop around, it will pay to contact reputable companies and it will pay to get their references.”
There are about 3 million urban ash trees in Iowa and an estimated 52 million ash trees in the state’s forests. Ash trees can be protected with insecticide treatments, but the treatments are most effective when the ash tree is still healthy. “If it’s half dead, if it’s half broken, if it’s got dead branches at the top already, if it’s got loose bark in the trunk, it’s probably not a good candidate for treatment,” Lewis said. The best time to make preventive applications for EAB is during the spring, according to Lewis.