Ash quarantine issued for Root and Washington townships
The emerald ash borer, an exotic species of beetle that destroys ash trees, was recently confirmed at a location in Adams County. As a result of the confirmed discovery, the DNR today issued a quarantine for most ash products in Root and Washington townships.
The Decatur, Ind. city forester reported finding emerald ash borer larvae and an adult on an ash tree to the DNR. Samples of the insect were sent to an expert at the U. S. Department of Agriculture who has since confirmed that the specimens were emerald ash borer.
The Decatur site is approximately nine miles west of the Ohio border and 20 miles south of Fort Wayne.
Dr. Robert Waltz, state entomologist, said the quarantine prohibits transportation of ash trees and most ash tree products out of the townships. This includes nursery stock, logs or untreated lumber with the bark attached, any type of firewood except for pine, and any composted or uncomposted ash chips or bark chips that are one inch or larger.
DNR personnel and others will begin surveying the area around the new find at the end of the month. Residents of the area should be able to easily identify these workers who will be wearing distinctive clothing.
Waltz said the survey will be used to determine the number of ash trees in the immediate vicinity, and the extent of the infestation. These steps are in preparation for the removal of all ash trees within a half-mile radius of the infestation. That removal will likely take place at the end of this year.
Jodie Ellis, the exotic insects education coordinator at Purdue University said it's possible that the Decatur site is three to five years old. "This find is not evidence that emerald ash borer is spreading throughout Indiana," she said. "What it means is that this particular pocket of infestation has probably been there for a while and is just now getting big enough to be detected. This infestation probably occurred before EAB was first found in Detroit and is most likely the result of the unintentional movement of EAB-infested firewood, logs, or nursery stock."
Ellis said it's hard to pinpoint where exactly EAB is in the state because it often takes two to three years for ash trees to show symptoms of EAB infestations.
"Right now the Indiana DNR and UDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service personnel are in the field gathering results of this year’s trap tree survey which they will complete by the end of the month. The survey was conducted throughout the northern part of Indiana and was responsible for some of our recent EAB finds and should give us a clearer idea of where this insect is," she said.
Homeowners can play a part in slowing the spread of the EAB. "We rely on local residents, foresters, loggers, tree removal or trimming crews and others to report possibly infected sites," Waltz said. "The public also can help us stop the spread of this insect by not moving firewood and by burning all campfire wood when they are visiting campgrounds," Waltz said.
Ellis warned people in the quarantined areas about possible scam artists. "Unfortunately, certain individuals see the emerald ash borer problem as an opportunity to make some fast cash," she said. "If someone comes to your home claiming to be able to 'cure' your ash trees of EAB, be suspicious. If someone tells you that your ash trees are infested and that he or she will cut them down for a price, take their name and number and report them to the IDNR. At this time, there is no charge to citizens within an eradication zone of a quarantined township for ash tree removal. All citizens whose trees must be removed will be directly contacted by a member of the IDNR beforehand."
Residents who see evidence of the emerald ash borer should contact Ellis at (888) EXT-INFO or the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Invasive Species Hotline at (866) NO-EXOTIC.
The adult emerald ash borer is slender and a bright, metallic, coppery-green color. It is about one-third of an inch long, making it difficult to spot in tree leaves. The adult form of the insect is only visible during the summer months. During the cooler months, EAB is in its larval, or immature, form and can only be found under the bark of ash trees. Emerald ash borer larvae destroy live ash trees by eating the vascular tissue which supplies nutrients to the tree, Ellis said.
It's difficult to distinguish damage from emerald ash borer from damage caused by the many native borer insects that attack ash. Two of the main ways to distinguish the emerald ash borer from native species are by the characteristic D-shaped exit holes in the main trunk and the presence of S-shaped feeding tunnels beneath the bark. Other symptoms include vertical splits in the bark and increased woodpecker activity.
Additional information and photos of the EAB are available at Purdue's Web site at www.entm.purdue.edu/eab/.
Related Web sites:
Purdue Emerald Ash Borer site: www.entm.purdue.edu/eab/
DNR Emerald Ash Borer site: www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/pestinfo/ashborer.htm