OTTUMWA — Sitting around a fire on Christmas sounds like the perfect way to spend the holiday. But those who use wood for fireplaces or any other reason should be careful about what kind and where they buy it from.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in multiple places around Iowa during the fall, and it has been found again in a new county. According to a press release by Iowa State University Extension on Thursday, an EAB infestation was found in Creston, the county seat of Union County.
Union County is the fifth Iowa county to have been positively identified with having an EAB infestation. The previous four are Allamakee County in May 2010, Des Moines County in July 2013, Jefferson County in Aug. 2013 and Cedar County in Oct. 2013.
On Nov. 1, 25 counties in eastern Iowa, including Wapello County, were placed under EAB quarantine. Under the quarantine, the moving of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of the quarantined county is restricted. That is so the possibly infected wood can’t be transported to uninfected areas by humans, which is one of the best ways to stop the spread of EAB, according to Tivon Feely, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forest Health Coordinator.
During the winter months, EAB go into a dormant larval stage, which is when they are arguably the most dangerous to ash trees. The larvae lie inside the bark of ash trees until about mid-June, and feed off of the water and nutrient vessels inside the tree, causing the tree to die.
At the moment the insects are not moving on their own. One of the only ways they can be transported to new areas is through humans transporting infected wood. Those buying firewood are encouraged to buy locally, and to make sure where they are buying from has been inspected by the proper officials to make sure the wood is safe.