Portage and Wood counties will be quarantined for emerald ash borer, following discovery of the tree-killing pest in Stevens Point.
'Not only is it likely that EAB is present in Wood County at low levels that are difficult to detect, but historic patterns of wood movement into the county, and the fact that it is a wood utilization center, make it practical to quarantine it along with Portage County,' said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The bureau administers plant pest quarantines.
'Mills there will be able to move wood in freely from other quarantined counties. They will still have to meet regulations for moving wood products that could carry EAB out of the county to non-quarantined areas,' Kuhn added.
Stevens Point residents noticed and reported woodpeckers activity on ash trees, which is one of the primary signs of EAB infestation. The woodpeckers are eating EAB larvae from under the bark. City foresters collected larvae, or immature beetles, from two ash trees and also found typical EAB damage — tunneling under the bark and D-shaped holes in the bark where adult beetles emerged.
Quarantines prohibit ash wood products and hardwood firewood from being moved to areas that are not quarantined. For businesses handling wood products that could carry EAB, this means that they must work with DATCP to assure that they are not transporting the pest to non-quarantine counties. For private citizens, a quarantine means that residents may not take firewood from these counties to nonquarantine counties.
'We strongly discourage moving firewood even within quarantine areas,' Kuhn said. 'The vast majority of EAB infestations have resulted from the movement of firewood, as evidenced by the number of times our first find in a given county has been in campgrounds. Most of the quarantined counties are not generally infested, so moving firewood within them could bring the pest to new areas in the county that would otherwise remain uninfested for several years.'
Kuhn notes that other forest pests and diseases also move easily and invisibly from one location to another under the bark of firewood.
DATCP recommends that property owners who have ash trees in quarantine counties:
· Keep a close watch for possible signs of EAB infestation: Thinning canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, cracked bark, branches sprouting low on the trunk, and woodpeckers pulling at bark.
·Consider preventive treatments if your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation.
· Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
· Call a professional arborist, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.
Emerald ash borer is native to China and probably entered the United States on packing material, showing up first in Michigan in 2002. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 in Ozaukee County.
Other quarantined Wisconsincounties are Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago.
EAB adults lay eggs on the bark of ash trees in mid- to late summer. When the eggs hatch a week or two later, the larvae burrow under the bark for the winter and feed, forming the characteristic S-shaped tunnels and destroying the tree's ability to take up nutrients and water. The following summer, the adults emerge through D-shaped holes in the bark.