KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — The emerald ash borer has been found in Kearney, marking the first time the destructive insect has been confirmed in the state outside of eastern Nebraska.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday the emerald ash borer was found in a tree along a Kearney street after it was first spotted by city parks and recreation staff. The insect was found in Omaha in 2016 but the Buffalo County confirmation is the first time its spread has been confirmed so far west.
The invasive beetle, which attacks and slowly kills ash trees, was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and now has been found in 35 states.
The Nebraska EAB Working Group, which includes NDA, the USDA, Nebraska Game and Parks and the Nebraska Forest Services, offers the following suggestions to help prevent the human-assisted spread of the insect:
- Use locally-sourced firewood, burning it in the same county where you purchased it, as EAB can easily be moved in firewood.
- Consider treating healthy, high-value ash tress located within a 15-mile radius of a known infestation. Treatment will need to be continually reapplied and will only prolong the tree’s life, not save it. Trees that are experiencing declining health should be considered for removal.
- If you are in a non-infested county and think you have located an EAB infestation, please report it to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2351, the Nebraska Forest Service at (402) 472-2944 or your local USDA office at (402) 434-2345.