DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The presence of emerald ash borer has been confirmed to have been found in Plymouth County for the first time, officials said.

Samples were collected from an ash tree in Remsen, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Officials said they were alerted by a tree service of a tree with symptoms of an infestation.

Since the discovery of the insect in North America, the emerald ash borer has been confirmed in 36 states of the U.S. In Iowa, it was first found in Allamakee County in 2010, and is now in all but two Iowa counties, Emmet and Palo Alto.

FILE- In this undated file photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, an adult emerald ash borer is shown. (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources via AP, File)

The emerald ash borer threatens all species of ash trees. An adult is about a half-inch long and metallic green. During the larval stage, the insect will burrow into the wood just below the bark. This burrowing will affect the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients, and the tree may be killed within two to four years due to cumulative damage.

Signs of an infestation include thinning of the canopy, leafy sprouts shooting from the trunk or main branches, serpentine marks under the bark, splitting bark, woodpecker damage, and 1/8-inch D-shaped exit holes.

The emerald ash borer can only travel short distances, but people could be aiding them in long-distance travel by transporting firewood with the insect hitching a ride. As such, people are asked to use locally-sourced firewood.

Landowners who have ash trees on their property and within 15 miles of an infestation are asked to decide on a plan of action. The release from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship stated that landowners can wait to see what happens, remove the ash trees and replace them with other tree species, or use preventative insecticides to try to protect the ash trees.

Iowa tracks the spread of the emerald ash borer on a county-by-county basis. Anyone in either Emmet and Palo Alto Counties who suspects there may be an infested ash tree is encouraged to contact one of the following:

  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, State Entomologist Office, 515-725-1470
  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Entomology, 515-294-1101
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-725-8200

More information about the emerald ash borer can be found on the Iowa Tree Pests website. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also has resources on the insect as does Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.