Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in Lafayette

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The destructive emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Lafayette by a Purdue entomologist, the city forester and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Jeff Clark injects insecticide into ash tree to protect it from the emerald ash borer

Jeff Clark, an arborist with Purdue Buildings and Grounds, injects an insecticide into an ash tree to protect it from emerald ash borers. The destructive invasive insect has just been confirmed for the first time in Lafayette, near Purdue's campus. (Purdue Agriculture Communication photo/Steve Leer)

The invasive insect that destroys ash trees was first found in Tippecanoe County near Americus last year, but city forester Belinda Kiger said this latest confirmed find is the first inside Lafayette city limits.

“Finding the emerald ash borer was not necessarily a surprise,” Kiger said. “It wasn’t a matter of whether or not we’d find it, but rather a matter of when.”

Purdue entomologist Cliff Sadof said ash tree owners need to decide if and how they want to protect their trees.

“It is safe to say that all untreated ash trees in the greater Lafayette area will be dead within the next few years,” he said. “If homeowners have ash trees they want to keep, they need to start treating them with approved pesticides as soon as possible, paying strict attention to proper timing and label instructions.”

Tree owners who want to protect their trees can choose from an array of pesticides, depending on the tree’s condition, size and location. Products range from over-the-counter soil drenches for homeowners (best for trees with no symptoms), to injectable formulations that must be delivered by licensed applicators (larger trees).

Symptoms of infested ash trees include dieback of leaves in the upper one-third of the tree’s canopy, vertical splits in the bark, D-shaped exit holes on the trunk, S-shaped tunnels under the bark, heavy woodpecker activity and water sprouts at the base of the trunk.

Phil Marshall, Indiana state entomologist, said Lafayette citizens need to be cautious when moving ash wood materials to prevent further spread of the insect and avoid breaking the law.

“Because of the 2010 find near Americus, movement of regulated ash material and all types of firewood from Tippecanoe County is restricted by quarantine,” Marshall said.

The quarantine makes it illegal to transport any ash tree; limb, branch or debris at least one inch in diameter; ash log or untreated ash lumber with bark attached; or cut firewood of any species outside the affected county.

For more information about state-level quarantines, contact the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology at 317-232-4120.

In addition to the state-level quarantine, all of Indiana is under a federal quarantine that prohibits moving regulated ash material out of Indiana without a compliance agreement or permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Sadof said.

Information about federal quarantines is available by contacting USDA-APHIS at 765-497-2859.

The emerald ash borer first was discovered in Michigan in 2002. Starting in 2004, the insect now has been identified in 50 of Indiana’s 92 counties. An interactive map of quarantined Indiana counties can be found at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/5349.htm

For more information about emerald ash borer, visit www.eabindiana.info or call DNR’s toll-free hotline at 866-NO EXOTIC (663-9684).

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