The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is on the move and has now entered northeast Johnson County. Three adults were found in a tree trap in Roeland Park, according to a spokesperson for the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension office.
Another was found in Shawnee and seven more in Wyandotte County Park. The Roeland Park trap was in R Park. The EAB was confirmed to be in Johnson County in July 2013 when an adult borer was found in a trap near the Johnson County landfill. Johnson County was immediately put under a quarantine after the 2013 discovery. The quarantine prohibits transport of firewood and any ash tree nursery stock, lumber or debris.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture has placed traps in several Kansas Counties. Information on the KDA site details the history of the spread of the insect in Kansas and across the country. Jeff Vogel of the KDA said the specimens in Roeland Park were just confirmed this week. KDA has several traps in Johnson County to monitor the progress of the EAB. The find in Roeland Park “confirms the expectation” that EAB is spreading, he said. Weather is now warm enough that the insects are emerging and moving around.
The borer was first found in Wyandotte County in the summer of 2012. Adults are moving right now, according to the extension office, so the infestation is spreading. The “official stance” of the office is now to treat ash trees with insecticide, but it recommends only treating those trees that are highly valued or in excellent condition. The office also recommends treatments be applied in the spring before the tree leafs out and that the injection method of treatment be used.
Ash trees left untreated will likely be killed by the borer eventually. Injection treatments need to be done every two years to protect a tree. Recommendations from the extension office can be found here. Many cities in northeast Johnson County have already taken steps to get ahead of the destruction of the EAB. Mission Hills earlier this year began removing ash trees in the public right-of-way and is planting replacement trees. Other cities have begun grading trees on public property or taken steps to remove them. Ash trees are prevalent across the NEJC landscape.
Roeland Park, where the recent discovery was made, has discussed removing all of the ash trees in R Park, which accounts for virtually all of the ash trees on public property in the city. Cities in northeast Johnson County have different policies about which trees are considered to be city responsibility.