The discovery of emerald ash borer larva in Clinton County in Eastern Iowa means that one of every five Iowa counties now has a confirmed infestation.
The problem of emerald ash borer is anticipated to be more than a $2.5 billion problem for the state of Iowa.
In 2002, the half-inch long pest hitchhiked to Michigan from Asia. That’s also how it spreads through Iowa, mainly in loads of firewood, which led the Iowa Department of Agriculture last year to restrict the movement of firewood within the state.
Despite the recent discovery, State Entomologist Robin Pruisner says luckily, this is the time of year that tree owners can do something about their trees, if they want to keep them.
She says, "But especially those who are within 15 miles of a known infestation. That is the time when you need to start thinking about, do I want to save my ash trees or what are my other options? The treatments are recommended, most treatments good time of the year is mid-April to mid-May to start applying for those. So if you're thinking about using a certified applicator to do that. Now is your time to contact those arborists, get your bids or those quotes lined up and choose who it is that you want to go with and get that scheduled."
Emerald ash borer isn't out just yet. Pruisner says she just started getting weekly updates on heat units, "Insects rely on environmental heat to continue their growth. So for instance, if you were in the southern half of Louisiana right now. The've actually had enough warm weather where, if there's emerald ash borer there, now's the time of the year where those beetles start to emerge and so as we've continued to warm up that will continue to press upward and here in Iowa, we usually expect to see beetles emerge in June through July."