DNR begins steps to contain spread of pest
After receiving lab results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources officials confirmed that the emerald ash borer had infected a tree in Steuben County. This is the first confirmation of the ash tree-killing pest in Indiana.
The ash tree-eating pest was discovered Monday at the Yogi Bear Jellystone campground on Barton Lake in Steuben County about 40 miles north of Fort Wayne.
The adult emerald ash borer is slender with a bright metallic coppery green color. It is about one-third of an inch long. The larval, or immature stage of the insect destroys live ash trees by eating the layers under the bark of the tree that supplies nutrients. After those layers are destroyed, the tree starves to death within a short time.
Infestations are most easily identified by tiny D-shaped holes that are visible on the tree's bark. The bark may also develop lengthwise cracks or fissures.
To date, millions of ash trees have fallen prey to the emerald ash borer and a number of Michigan counties are under quarantine. The pest also has been found a few miles east of the Indiana border near Hicksville, Ohio and a few miles to the north in Quincy, Mich.
State Entomologist Dr. Robert Waltz announced today that the state would begin to take steps to contain the spread of the infestation.
The first step will be a survey of the infected area. The survey will determine, first, the number of ash trees that could serve as a host for the pest. Second, the survey will determine the extent of the infestation. Both of these steps are in preparation for trapping the emerald ash borer and the removal of all ash trees within a half-mile radius of the infestation.
Further, Waltz announced the DNR is placing a quarantine on Jamestown Township in Steuben County. The quarantine will forbid the transportation out of the township of any ash tree, including nursery stock, any ash logs or untreated lumber with the bark attached, and composted or uncomposted ash chips or bark chips one inch or larger. Lastly, no cut firewood from any species of tree grown in Jamestown Township may be taken out of the township.
DNR was first notified of a possible infestation by a local Purdue Extension educator. A DNR field entomologist responded and confirmed an infestation but was unable to confirm the presence of the emerald ash borer.
Another DNR entomologist and a representative of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) visited the site on Tuesday. They did confirm the presence of a similar wood-boring pest but could not visually confirm the emerald ash borer was present.
The APHIS representative took a sample from the infected tree and sent it to an emerald ash borer specialist at the USDA’s Systematic Entomology laboratory in Washington D.C. Wednesday the DNR received the lab results that confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer.
Waltz also suggests steps that Hoosiers should take to help retard the spread of the emerald ash borer to Indiana. "First, do not bring into Indiana firewood from Michigan or Ohio, particularly if the bark is still attached. In general, it is best to debark all firewood if you're traveling and be sure to burn all the wood you brought with you. Under federal quarantine, it is illegal to transport firewood from infested areas to any site outside the quarantined area."
Finally, Waltz suggested homeowners can help by keeping their trees well watered and watch out for signs of this pest. "The emerald ash borer first attacks weak and troubled trees. Ash trees need an inch of water per week to remain healthy. It's important to maintain tree vigor," he said.
Additional information about the emerald ash borer is available on the DNR Web site at: www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/pestinfo/ashborer.htm