Emerald Ash Borer Found in Wisconsin Rapids

MADISON – Emerald ash borer has been confirmed for the first time in Wood County, less than a month after state regulators began proceedings to quarantine the county after the destructive insect was found in neighboring Portage County.

“This will not change anything from a regulatory standpoint,” said Brian Kuhn, Plant Industry Bureau Director with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “We will continue the quarantine process. The insects will continue to spread naturally, but the quarantine can help prevent EAB from leapfrogging to entirely new areas with the help of humans.”

DATCP staff collected the insect from a boulevard tree where woodpeckers were tearing off bark to get to the larvae beneath it. Woodpecker activity was also apparent on nearby boulevard ash trees, and the telltale S-shaped tunneling was also present. Department staff submitted the sample to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for confirmation, which was received Wednesday.

For private citizens, the quarantine means that they cannot take firewood from Wood County to non-quarantine counties. For businesses handling wood products that could carry EAB, it means that they must work with DATCP to assure that their products are pest-free before shipping to non-quarantine areas.

EAB has now been found in 37 Wisconsin counties:  Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Jackson, Jefferson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Winnebago and Wood.  Iowa, Juneau, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties are also under quarantine because of the proximity of infestations in neighboring counties.

For property owners in Wood County and other quarantine counties, Kuhn recommends:

  • Watch ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation:  Thinning in the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark, and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
  • If your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation, consider preventive treatments. Whether to treat depends on several factors: the age of the trees, the size of the trees, and the number of trees. Treatment costs vary depending on size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional.
  • Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
  • Contact a professional arborist for expert advice, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.

Kuhn also asks property owners in non-quarantine counties to report signs of EAB infestations. For pictures of EAB and its damage, and to report suspected infestations in non-quarantine counties, visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov.

Emerald ash borer is native to China and entered the United States over 20 years ago on packing material, showing up first in Michigan. It appeared in Wisconsin in 2008 in Washington County.

EAB adults lay eggs on the bark of ash trees in mid- to late summer. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow under the bark for the winter and eat just beneath the bark, destroying the tree’s ability to take up nutrients and water. In summer, the adults emerge through D-shaped holes in the bark. On their own, they may spread about a half mile per year