DATCP: Worried about EAB scams? Knowledge and professional help can protect you

Contact: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130, [email protected]

Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, [email protected]

MADISON – Homeowners have been warned in recent days about fly-by-night services out to exploit fears about emerald ash borers. You know who you can’t trust, but with property value, energy costs and backyard beauty at stake, who can you trust?

“Seek out licensed and certified professionals, and arm yourself with knowledge,” says Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

First, you need to know whether you have true ash trees. Emerald ash borers attack all species of ash trees except mountain ash, which is not a true ash. They do not attack any other species. Watch a video at emeraldashborer.wi.gov to learn how to identify an ash tree.

Second, you need to know your area’s infestation status. Your ash trees are at risk if you are in an area known to be infested; not known to be infested, but under quarantine; or within 15 miles of a known infestation. To see where EAB has been found in Wisconsin, go to emeraldashborer.wi.gov. If you live more than 15 miles from a known infestation, and outside a quarantine county, your trees are probably not infested.

Third, if you live in one of those at-risk areas, you need to learn the symptoms of infestation. Symptoms include thinning tree canopy, new branches sprouting at the base or along the trunk of the tree, D-shaped holes in the bark, splitting bark, and S-shaped tracks called galleries under the bark. You can see pictures of damage, as well as of the insects themselves, at emeraldashborer.wi.gov. Bear in mind that dead branches or new sprouts by themselves are unlikely to be caused by EAB. The D-shaped exit holes and galleries are the real tell-tale signs in the absence of the adult or larval insects.

If you have true ash trees, live in an at-risk area, and are seeing multiple symptoms, call a certified arborist to make a diagnosis. To find certified arborists in your county, visit the Wisconsin Arborist Association at waa-isa.org .

If the arborist determines that EAB has infested your ash trees, you can have him/her apply treatments. You may also contract with a pesticide application business that treats trees. Check datcp.wisconsin.gov to find licensed applicators in your area. Some pesticides can be applied by homeowners, and are available at garden or home centers. Be sure they are labeled for emerald ash borer. Before applying, read the label thoroughly and follow instructions exactly.

You might also choose to do preventive treatments if you live in an at-risk area. Again, arm yourself with knowledge and consult a certified arborist first. You can also find out what kinds of treatments are available by visiting emeraldashborer.wi.gov.

If you live more than 15 miles from any known infestation and are not in a quarantine county, it is probably not necessary to do preventive treatments. But EAB can be carried to new areas, so if you suspect an ash tree has become infested, contact your city or county forester, or call the EAB hotline at 800-462-2803.

A final reminder: Don’t move firewood, because it can carry many pests, including EAB.

You can subscribe to receive email updates about EAB by going to emeraldashborer.wi.gov.