DNR open house to give details about state's plans Feb. 23
The emerald ash borer, an exotic species of beetle that destroys ash trees, has been confirmed at a location in Huntington Co. The DNR today issued an emergency order that officially restricts the movement of ash products in Huntington Co., especially in Huntington and Union townships, the specific location of the infestations.
DNR Director Kyle Hupfer said the state’s legal restrictions "prohibit transportation of ash trees and most ash tree products out of the infected counties. 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."
Hupfer said these measures are designed to slow the spread of the infestation while federal and university scientists look for ways to permanently eradicate the pest from the U.S.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations were found in Huntington Twp. on a private woodlot northeast of Lake Clare and in Union Twp. along the right-of-way on Riverside at 200E.
Samples of the insect from the infested sites were sent to an expert at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who has since confirmed that the specimens were emerald ash borer.
Open houses about the emerald ash borer are scheduled for Feb. 23 at 2 and 6 p.m. in Heritage Hall at Hier's Park in Huntington, Ind.
Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, Purdue University and will answer questions at the open house.
Earlier EAB infestations in Indiana have been found in LaGrange, Steuben, Randolph and Adams and Hamilton counties. Large infestations are also present in Michigan, Ohio and Canada.
DNR personnel and others soon will begin surveying the area near the new infestation. Residents of the area should be able to easily identify these workers who will be wearing distinctive clothing. The survey will determine the number of ash trees in the immediate vicinity, and the extent of the infestation.
Jodie Ellis, the exotic insects education coordinator at Purdue University said, "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 been here for a while and is just now old enough to be detected."
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.
State Entomologist Dr. Robert Waltz 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 slow the spread of this insect by not moving firewood and by burning all campfire wood when they are visiting campgrounds."
DNR Director Hupfer also warned people in the restricted areas about possible scam artists. "Unfortunately, certain individuals see the emerald ash borer problem as an opportunity to make some fast cash," he 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 DNR."
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 is 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/ and at www.emeraldashborer.info.