Emerald ash borer discovered in Lincoln, Fremont

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirmed finding emerald ash borer, in an EAB trap located in Lincoln. This trap was set and monitored by USDA as part of the National EAB survey. An ash tree with signs and symptoms indicating an EAB infestation was also recently discovered in Fremont by a local arborist. EAB, an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, was first found in Nebraska in June of 2016.

“NDA and USDA staff set and monitor traps across the state looking for EAB infestations,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “While it’s unfortunate we found EAB in Lincoln and signs of an infested tree in Fremont, it is not unexpected considering we have confirmed EAB infestations in Douglas and Cass counties.”

EAB is a small, metallic-green beetle that is about a half inch long. The larvae of this wood-boring insect tunnel under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately causing the tree to die. EAB-infested ash trees will exhibit thinning or dying branches in the top of the tree, S-shaped larval galleries under bark, D-shaped exit holes and suckers (along the trunk and main branches).

Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Washington and Dodge counties remain under a quarantine order that was issued in 2016 which includes prohibiting ash nursery stock from leaving the quarantine area and regulating the movement of hardwood firewood and mulch, ash timber products and green waste material out of quarantined areas. Quarantines are put in place to reduce the human-assisted spread of EAB into non-infested areas. NDA and USDA staff work with the public and impacted industries to ensure compliance of quarantines. NDA will make any updates to the state EAB quarantine this fall, after adult flight is over and trapping has been completed.

The Nebraska EAB Working Group, which includes NDA, Nebraska Game and Parks, the USDA and the Nebraska Forest Service, offers the following suggestions to help prevent the human-assisted spread of the insect:

EAB can easily be moved in firewood. Use locally-sourced firewood, burning it in the same county where you purchased it.

Consider treating healthy, high-value ash tress located within a 15-mile radius of a known infestation. Treatment will need to be continually reapplied and will only prolong the tree’s life, not save it. Trees that are experiencing declining health should be considered for removal.

If you feel you have located an EAB infestation, please report it to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351, the Nebraska Forest Service at 402-472-2944 or your local USDA office at 402-434-2345.

“Based on the experiences of other states, we anticipate finding additional EAB infested areas as more people learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of EAB in their ash trees,” said Director Wellman. “While we can’t completely eliminate EAB, the quarantine will help slow the spread of the pest and give homeowners and municipalities across the state additional time to consider their options and make decisions about the future of their ash trees.”

Additional information on EAB, including quarantine information, can be found on NDA’s website at www.nda.nebraska.gov/plant/entomology/eab/. Additional information on EAB and Nebraska-specific recommendations for homeowners and municipalities can be found on the Nebraska Forest Services’ website at www.eabne.info.