Emerald Ash Borer Invades Lyon County: Kansas Ag Department Confirms Presence of Destructive Insect, Urges Early Detection and Treatment

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Emporia last week, making Lyon County the 14th county in Kansas to have this invasive insect. The EAB was first suspected in the U.S. in the 1990s but wasn’t detected until 2002. It has since destroyed tens of millions of ash trees across 30 states. The pest was first discovered in Kansas in 2012 in Wyandotte County, and the official detection in Emporia was made on May 24.

Matt Norville, the community forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service, explained why there was a delay between suspecting EAB and officially detecting the species.

“In order to officially detect EAB, someone from the Kansas Department of Agriculture must find an adult or larvae,” he said. “It can be challenging for foresters or arborists working in these communities who may see declining ash and the galleries the insects leave behind, but detecting the actual insect is essential to making the call that it is officially in the county.”

The EAB is a green, invasive beetle that destroys ash trees by consuming tissues beneath the bark. Adult EABs emerge from infestations in mid to late May and lay eggs. The larvae then bore into the ash tree and feed under the bark, leaving visible tracks. Infested small trees can die within 1-2 years, while larger trees may survive for 3-4 years.

Norville suggests that early detection and appropriate treatment can rescue trees affected by the infection. He advises that a certified pesticide applicator should administer the treatment as soon as possible. While landowners can treat smaller trees, it is often more beneficial to remove and replace these trees, as they would require continuous treatment.

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