The emerald ash borer is now confirmed in the state’s most heavily populated county. Department of Agriculture entomologist, Robin Pruisner, says the pest was found in residential trees in Urbandale and in West Des Moines.
“With this new find, we now have 22 counties recognized as being infested to some degree with emerald ash borer,” Pruisner says. The discovery in the middle of the state comes on an anniversary of sorts for the discovery of the beetle here. “Just five years ago this month, Iowa announced it’s first EAB find. We had that one county in 2010, we had a bit of a lag time, we had four counties declared in 2013, and then another 13 or 14 counties in 2014, and now four counties thus far in 2015,” Pruisner says.
Officials use a 15-mile-wide zone around infected trees to determine which areas should be treated for the emerald green pest that destroys all species of ash trees. That means all of the state’s capital city is now in the zone. Iowa State University entomologist Mark Shour (shower) says there are some effective treatments available. “Most of the treatments are effective if it’s a preventative nature before the emerald ash borer hits the tree,” Shour explains. “If the tree is infested with emerald ash borer and there is less than 30-percent of the crown that has died back, these products also have curative action as well.”
Shour urges caution for anyone thinking of getting trees treated to avoid high pressure tactics from those peddling the products. “We encourage people to get a least three estimates from bona fide companies,” Shour says. He says you should then check the company out with the Agriculture Department’s Pesticide Bureau to see if they are registered and certified to use pesticides.
The city of West Des Moines says it will treat nearly 600 trees next week, and has already cut down 167 ash trees from city property.