Emerald ash borer confirmed in Johnson County, quarantine in place

The US Department of Agriculture has installed emerald ash borer traps throughout Johnson County, including this one near Porter Park in  Prairie Village.
The US Department of Agriculture has installed emerald ash borer traps throughout Johnson County, including this one near Porter Park in Prairie Village.

The day that tree lovers throughout the area had feared has officially arrived.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer in Johnson County. USDA Animal and Plant Health inspectors found an adult borer in a trap placed near the Johnson County landfill on July 5.

“In Kansas, we have worked for years on emerald ash borer prevention and surveillance efforts. These vigilant surveillance efforts allowed us to catch the pest early,” said Jeff Vogel, KDA Plant Protection and Weed Control program manager, in a statement. “We are immediately implementing an emergency intrastate quarantine for Johnson County in order to stop further spread of EAB in Kansas.”

A quarantine was put in place for Wyandotte County when the borer was confirmed there in summer 2012. Like the Wyandotte quarantine, the new Johnson County order prohibits the transport of any living emerald ash borer specimen as well as several items known to attract or house the insect:

  • Firewood of all hardwood (non-coniferous)species;
  • Nursery stock of the genus Fraxinus (Ash);
  • Green lumber of the genus Fraxinus (Ash);
  • Other material living, dead, cut, or fallen, including logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips of the genus Fraxinus(Ash);
  • Any other article, product, or means of conveyance that an inspector determines presents a risk of spreading emerald ash borer and notifies the person in possession of the article, product, or means of conveyance that it is subject to the restrictions of the regulations.

Additional information from the KDA announcement follows:

Prevention is key to limiting new infestations, Vogel said. KDA is working with stakeholders to assure they understand how to properly treat or dispose of emerald ash borer-infested ash trees and materials to reduce the impacts this pest has on the state. Vogel said the quarantine requires all ash trees and materials in Johnson County to be treated or disposed of properly prior to leaving the quarantined area.

All ash trees are susceptible to infestation by the emerald ash borer. Trees become infested when adult beetles lay eggs on the bark. The eggs hatch into larvae that bore into the tree. They tunnel between the bark and wood and disrupt water and nutrient movement, eventually killing the tree. Emerald ash borer appears to prefer trees under stress but is capable of killing perfectly healthy trees.

Adult emerald ash borers are about one-half inch long and they emerge in late spring. The larvae feed just under the bark of a tree, which damages and eventually kills the tree. Trees infested with emerald ash borer will have canopy dieback, water sprouts, bark splitting, serpentine-like galleries and D-shaped exit holes.

Vogel said if Kansans think any of their trees may have the pest, they should notify KDA immediately at (785) 862-2180 or at ppwc@kda.ks.gov.

Both Fairway and Prairie Village, where the ash tree is extremely common, have begun putting plans in place to counter borer infestations and protect those tree specimens that might be worth saving.

Dennis Patton, the K-State Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, posted his overview of the situation and options for countering the emerald ash borer here.

A map showing the location of the confirmed borer collection is below:

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