The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 2, 2013

Emerald ash borer found in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD — Robin Pruisner's prey isn't evident at a glance. It's a set of contradictions: big damage from a small bug that's flashy but hard to spot. But she knows it's there and wants to make sure it doesn't go any farther than it already has.

“The emerald ash borer is a metallic green wood-boring beetle. It's about half an inch long,” said Pruisner, the state entemologist. “Even though it's a showy beetle, it's small.”

The emerald ash borer has devastated ash trees since it was first identified near Detroit in 2002. Its discovery in Fairfield marks the third Iowa county in which it has been found. Allamakee County came first in 2010. It showed up in Des Moines County earlier this year.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture says the beetle, which is native to Asia, was found in a residential tree in Fairfield during a survey by a team trained to find the pest. Most infestations in the U.S. start with movement of firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs, though the beetle is capable of flying short distances.

Tivon Feeley, a forest health specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the Fairfield infestation was found at the tail end of a forest health tour. The tour spotted a tree that showed symptoms of infestation, and a followup check confirmed it.

He suspects a couple of other trees in town also have the beetle already.

“I think it is likely there are at least other trees in Fairfield,” he said.

The discovery has implications for other counties in the area. The release from the state indicates a “multicounty quarantine” will be put into effect in southeast Iowa.

Pruisner is beginning the process of figuring out what form that quarantine will take. She's making calls and talking with people, trying to understand just how wood products move in southeast Iowa. The beetle wouldn't skip a county naturally, so its movement most likely came by hitching a ride from humans.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

  • OCSD releases elementary supplies list

    OTTUMWA — For years, parents of the students in Ottumwa's elementary schools have had to check to make sure the school supplies list they grabbed was the right one for their school. No more.

    July 30, 2014

  • Reducing runoff at the local level AGENCY — Pollution isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look out at a field of Iowa corn or soybeans, but there’s growing concern about what manages to get out of the fields and into the water. The same nutrients that benefit the crops c

    July 30, 2014

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

Photo reprints