AMES, Iowa – If you bought firewood at a Menards store recently, burn it as soon as possible. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), the wood may be infested with emerald ash borer (EAB). (See entire announcement at http://www.agriculture.state.ia.us/press/press2807.htm )
The emerald ash borer was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 and since then has killed millions of ash trees in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. It is a serious threat to the 70 million ash trees in Iowa.
“For the past four years, staff from ISU Extension has been working with IDALS State Entomologist’s Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to determine if the EAB is in Iowa,” said Mark Shour, ISU Extension entomologist. “Visual surveys, setting up sentinel trees, reaching out to groups across the state and information activities are just some of the things we are doing to determine if EAB is in Iowa and to educate the public about EAB.”
There are four ways EAB could enter Iowa: insect flight, nursery stock, logs and branches for wood products industries, and firewood. Although the beetles can fly up to five miles, the nearest known infestation is Kane County, Illinois, still far away from our eastern border.
The Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association implemented a voluntary moratorium on purchase of ash (Fraxinus) species for the past three years. This, combined with IDALS State Entomologist’s Office nursery stock inspections and nursery sales data, has essentially shut down this avenue for EAB movement into Iowa. Movement of ash logs and branches has been limited by the high price of petroleum fuels and the negligible demand for this wood in Iowa. Thus, the most likely way EAB will enter Iowa is through infested firewood.
ISU Extension will continue to monitor the situation and work with its partners to prevent the movement of EAB across the state. To learn more about EAB, visit ISU Extension’s Pest Management and the Environment program Website at www.extension.iastate.edu/pme
Mark H. Shour, Extension Entomologist, (515) 294-1101,
Keven E. Arrowsmith, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-2405,