An invasive insect pest has moved closer than ever to Nebraska, Emerald Ash Borer. Emerald Ash Borer, EAB, has not been found in Nebraska, but it now has been confirmed that it was found around Kansas City on both the Missouri and Kansas side.
EAB was first found in the United States in 2002, killing ash trees in southeast Michigan. EAB was probably transported to the United States a few years before the confirmed presence on solid wood packing material, such as pallets. Currently, Emerald Ash Borer has been found throughout much of the northeast portion of the United States, but it has not been found in Nebraska. Prior to 2012 the closest locations of EAB were in Minnesota and one hitchhiker found in southeastern Missouri. After this past summer, officials of the United States Department of Agriculture have confirmed the presence of Emerald Ash Borer in the surrounding areas of Kansas City on both the Missouri and the Kansas sides of the state line.
Image of EAB tunnelsImage of ash tree suckersEmerald Ash Borer is a wood boring insect that is ½ inches long and is a metallic green color with a bronze color underneath the wings. The problem with Emerald Ash Borer is that it bores into perfectly healthy ash trees. Most borer insects will only feed on stressed or dying trees, that is what makes EAB so much worse than normal borers and it is why it is destroying so many trees.
Emerald Ash Borer feeds only on true ash trees, which means that mountain ash is not attacked because it is in a different family and is not a true ash tree. The signs of EAB infestation include suckering at the base of an ash tree, decline in the tree from the top of the canopy downward through the tree, 1/8 inch D-shaped exit holes along the trunk and branches, increased woodpecker damage, S-shaped Serpentine galleries underneath the bark of the tree. If you notice any of these symptoms in your ash tree, you should contact your local University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator.
There are insecticides labeled for control of Emerald Ash Borer, but unfortunately they haven't been able to contain it's spread. To prevent the insect's entry into our state, do not move firewood or ash wood products into Nebraska from quarantined states. A USDA Federal quarantine is in place for all states with known infestations, which prohibits the movement of ash wood from the infested state to other areas of the United States. Be sure to follow all of these laws if you are traveling.