What Is Being Done

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship works in cooperation with several partners to better educate the public and to detect the emerald ash borer. Among our closest partners to name a few, are the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and Iowa State University Extension. We also work closely with many communities and organizations. The following are the highlights of our detection activities thus far.


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The Purple Sticky Trap Survey

Link - What's Purple, Sticky, and Hangs in an Ash Tree ?

The purple sticky trap survey has been conducted on a yearly basis since 2009 with an emphasis on placing traps in high risk areas such as campgrounds and public places.

In recent years, additional traps have been placed throughout northeast Iowa that were placed by following a 1.5 mile grid patern. This was done in anticipation of detecting emerald ash borer as it moves out of the quarantine areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.


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1,220 purple sticky traps were put in place by June 2012. The majority of these traps were established in 12 northeast Iowa counties, and also in public places that are often visited by people throughout the state. Two of these traps were confirmed as positive for EAB with one beetle each. Both of these positive trap locations were in Allamakee county, one trap near New Albin, and another trap near Lansing. No other positive traps were found outside Allamakee county for the 2012 trap season.


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Approximately 361 purple traps have been installed in areas considered as a higher risk for emerald ash borer during the 2013 season. Fewer traps were placed in 2013 due to lack of federal funding, which is the trend that we can expect to see in the future as more Iowa areas become infested with EAB.

The traps have been collected for 2013, and no EAB beetles were found outside of areas where emerald ash borer infestations are known to occur. EAB beetles were found in additional traps that were placed in the Iowa cities of Burlington and Fairfield, after these areas were already confirmed positive for emerald ash borer.

The Sentinel Tree Survey

In addition to the purple trap survey, 416 sentinel trees were established across Iowa by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in 2012. Sentinel trees are ash trees that are girdled during the fall and spring to induce stress, there by making the tree more attractive for insect attack.

These trees are then bark peeled and surveyed for larvae of the emerald ash borer during the fall and winter. The survey trees are established at high risk locations such as campgrounds, parks, and well travelled public places where emerald ash borer is likely to be introduced.


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The results of the 2012 survey include two positive sentinel trees. One tree was found at Black Hawk Point, and the other in Pool Slough. Both of these locations are in Allamakee county, which has been quarantined for EAB since 2010. No EAB larvae have been found at any of the sentinel tree locations outside Allamakee county for the 2012 survey season.

Sentinel trees were installed in high risk areas for 2013, and all of the survey trees have been bark peeled and the results are known. No emerald ash borer larvae were found in any of the 2013 survey trees. At the current time, the sentinel tree survey is not planned to continue for 2014.

Inspecting Local Ash Trees

The numbers of local ash trees that have been inspected during 2009 through 2014 has been considerable, although these numbers are not officially recorded. Most of these trees are owned by concerned Iowa citizens who have called or emailed inquires regarding EAB. The surveying of ash trees continues throughout the State of Iowa. This work will continue in order to locate pockets of EAB infestation, and to help guide property owners and municipalities with emerald ash borer concerns.

It is important to note that this has been our best survey method, as the positive locations of Burlington, Fairfield and Mechanicsville were all found through the help of concerned property owners who have inquired about EAB. These inspections continue to be done in cooperation with Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).


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The Iowa State University Extension publication shown here, is a good document for identifing ash trees, and also some of the problems commonly associated with them.

If you have symptomatic ash trees and suspect emerald ash borer as an introduction to your neighborhood, we would appreciate a chance to take a closer look. Please let us know by visiting our Contact us page.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has also conducted visual inspections of 1,291 ash trees in communities and public areas of 58 counties during 2012. They have completed 110 community urban forest inventories and community forest management plans to assist communities to prepare and deal with EAB and other pest issues. Current plans are to complete another 120 community inventories and management plans over the next 2 - 3 years.

The USDA has also conducted outreach and inspection at a variety of high risk sites throughout the state in 2012. These efforts included visiting 120 firewood dealers, 121 logging operations, 46 pallet manufacturers, 131 private campgrounds, 93 sawmills and 274 tree services. This work is currently being continued into the 2014 season.


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Public Workshops and Meetings

Although more emerald ash borer locations are being found in eastern Iowa, Iowa State University specialist encourage Iowa homeowners to evaluate their ash trees and to hold off on any insecticide prevention, unless they are within 15 miles of confirmed emerald ash borer infestations.

Several informational meetings and workshops for the public have also been conducted in communities throughout Iowa in recent years. Workshops are scheduled by Iowa State University Extension and are intended for any person who may be interested in emerald ash borer, or anyone who may be doing survey work in their own communities.

People who may be interested in attending a workshop for 2014 can find the scheduling and locations by clicking here, or by going to Iowa State University Extension - Pest Management and the Environment page.

Public Relations

The Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team are active in educating the public about the risk associated with the transportation of out-of-state firewood into Iowa. This effort is directed toward businesses who sell firewood, and to individuals who may bring firewood across state lines. We have done a number of public relations campaigns, advertising, and billboards that are designed to educate people about the threat.

Link: See our Billboards

Link: See our Magazine Ads

Link: Don’t Move Firewood!

Listen to our Radio Ads: Talking Trees, and Moving Wood

Iowa State Fair Displays... and much more.