A larva collected from a tree in Mount Pleasant has been identified as the emerald ash borer, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported Friday.
That makes Henry County the 10th of Iowa’s 99 counties in which the tree killing insect has been confirmed.
“We knew it was just a matter of time. Infestations have been found to our east in Burlington and to our west in Fairfield,” City Parks and Recreation Director Gary Grunow said Friday.
Until the discovery, Grunow said he had received only one call about a suspect ash tree. “I expect we will be getting a lot more of them now,” he said.
In an effort to get ahead of the impending damage, the city began identifying and removing ash trees last winter and is replacing the removed trees this summer, Grunow said.
State Entomologist Robin Pruisner said her office receives between five and 20 inquiries per day about suspect trees, most of which prove to be something other than the emerald ash borer.
“Southeast Iowa seems to be the hot spot for calls,” she said.
State Forester Paul Tauke said the DNR Forestry Bureau is handling a similar volume of calls and emails.
A sample for which lab results are pending will likely confirm another infestation next week, Tauke said.
“I expect the number of infested counties to increase fairly frequently this summer. The ash borer population is increasing exponentially, and public awareness of the signs and symptoms is increasing,” he said.
A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states was issued on Feb. 4 and remains in place.
“EAB typically has a one-year life cycle but in colder climates, it can take as long as two-years,” Pruisner said.
“Finding an EAB larva in July is proof that there is no ‘safe time’ for moving firewood in Iowa. No matter the time of year, the risk of EAB being transported in firewood is very real.”
The Iowa EAB Team, consisting of staff from several state and federal agencies, provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners.
Other Iowa counties with infestations are Allamakee, Des Moines, Jefferson, Cedar, Union, Black Hawk, Wapello, Bremer and Jasper.
Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Status