Emerald Ash Borer Found in Iron County


Life Cycle of the emerald ash borer. Credit: WI-DATCP.

On June 15, 2021 Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was officially confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Iron County.  Iron County became the 60th Wisconsin county to be confirmed to have EAB.  DNR Forest Health Specialist, Linda Williams, found dead black ash trees with extensive woodpecker damage along Hwy 51 in Oma near the Volunteer Fire Department, upon further investigation, the confirmation was made.

Wisconsin has been trying to slow the spread of EAB since 2008 when it was first found in the state.  Since then, there was a large campaign to ask folks not to move firewood and other forest products from within a certain radius to slow the spread of EAB.  This small insect has a major impact on our Ash trees. While the adults eat the foliage, which causes little damage, the larvae eat the inner bark preventing the tree from transporting water and nutrients, ultimately killing the tree. Adult EAB can be identified as a metallic green bullet shaped beetle that is 3/8 to 1/2 inch long.  Emerald Ash Borers move relatively slowly, moving ½ mile and up to 5 miles in search of Ash to feed on.  They feed on true ash trees: this includes white ash, green ash, blue ash and black ash. Mountain ash is not a true ash and therefore not affected by EAB.  Iron County’s forests consist of mainly black ash in lowland hardwood areas and some areas with white ash, which grows in more fertile upland hardwood forests. White ash is also a common landscape tree in the area. Green ash is less common but is associated with stream banks.  You can identify ash trees by their branches that are opposite of each other on the stem, as well as by bark and leaves. A good resource for identifying ash trees is located at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/documents/E-2942.pdf.

While there is no known way to eliminate EAB from the area once it has been introduced, folks should limit the movement of ash firewood and bolts in order to slow the spread of this insect throughout the county or to other counties where it has not yet been introduced. EAB can emerge from untreated firewood up to two years after cutting. There are treatments that have proved effective on treating individual trees if you have a valuable personal tree that you are attached to.  Diverse forests, parks, street trees and yards are the best line of defense to pests like EAB.

If you are concerned about trees on your forest property and want help with managing EAB, you contact your local forester by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Professional Forester page at: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/forestlandowners/assist. Municipalities can find resources to manage EAB at the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forest EAB Community Toolbox page https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/urbanforests/eabtoolbox. Homeowners can get information though your local UW-Madison Extension Iron County office. Darrin Kimbler, Extension Agriculture Educator for Iron County can assist homeowners with ash tree and EAB identification as well as providing resources on determining if their tree is worth protecting, finding a certified arborist to assist in protection and alternative trees to ash as lawn trees.  Additional homeowner information can be found at https://eab.russell.wisc.edu/.

Darrin Kimbler
Extension Iron County
300 Taconite Street, Suite 118
Hurley, WI 54534
Phone: 715-561-2695
Email: darrin.kimbler@wisc.edu
Zach Wilson
Iron Co Land and Water Conservation
607 3rd Ave N Suite 2
Hurley, WI 53534
Phone: 715-561-2234
Email: zach@ironcountywi.org   



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