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Emerald ash borer creeps its way into Des Moines ash trees

Once an ash tree is infected, this creepy critter can kill it within two to four years.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The City of Des Moines is treating and removing Ash Trees following the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) infestations

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says EAB's are a "small, metallic green, invasive wood-boring beetle native to east Asia." 

These critters attack and kill ash trees throughout their lives. Adult beetles can live on the outside of the trees and feed on leaves during the summer while their larvae feed on the living plant tissue and underneath the bark.

DNR says EAB larvae that tunnel through the tree are "ultimately" what kills the trees, and humans are to blame for the spread of the beetles.

EAB's can kill a tree in two to four years.

Credit: Iowa Department of Natural Resources
This image details emerald ash borer "detections" in the state of Iowa as of January 21, 2020.

The entire state of Iowa is under federal firewood transport quarantine, according to the DNR. That means it's strongly recommended that firewood only be obtained from within the county that it's burned.

So, how is the City of Des Moines treating the EAB problem? 

The Des Moines Emerald Ash Borer Management Program is responding to the infestations by treating or removing infected trees.

The City says they have a plan to either treat or remove every ash tree in the next five years.

LOOK: Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan from the City of Des Moines

The City also says it is responsible for the cost of all removals, but residents interested in preserving ash tress that are located on city right-of-way or in parks will need to treat the trees at their own expense.

The permitting system to treat the trees is free. Any resident wanting to preserve a tree must either complete the required paperwork by submitting an application or by printing, completing and returning the form to the City of Des Moines Public Works Forestry Division

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