Invasive emerald ash borer gets closer to South Dakota

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ash trees in South Dakota are on the cusp of endangerment.

The emerald ash borer (EAB), a green beetle that feasts on the vascular tissue of ash trees, has been expanding from its original discovery in Detroit, Mich. It has killed hundreds of millions of trees in the United States in the past decade, expanding from the Great Lakes region in 1990 to 25 states today, including Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

The state of South Dakota has taken action to increase awareness of the pest and preserve its ash trees. Gov. Dennis Daugaard proclaimed the week of May 21-27, 2017, as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in South Dakota.

South Dakota state forester Greg Josten explained the precautions that must be taken to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer.

“Experts predict that the most likely way for the borer to spread to South Dakota is through the movement of firewood from an infested area,” Josten said.

“The most effective way people can help prevent unwanted pests like EAB from entering South Dakota is to buy firewood where you intend to burn it. If you are a South Dakota resident traveling to another state, please don’t bring firewood home with you. If you are a property owner who allows visitors to have campfires, please talk to them about the importance of purchasing firewood locally and provide information about firewood sources in your area. If visitors leave behind firewood after they depart and you are unsure of its origin, please destroy the wood as soon as possible.”

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