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Science and the Environment

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Springfield

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Greene and Polk Counties.  The findings indicate the tree pest is continuing its spread across the state, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The exotic beetle was found in specialized traps at three sites in Greene County:  along a Greenways trail in southwest Springfield, at the MDC Crighton Access southeast of the city and at Rocky Barrens Conservation Area northwest of Springfield.  In Polk County, EAB was confirmed on private property east of Bolivar.  It has now been detected in 50 Missouri counties.

The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green beetle native to Asia that attacks only ash trees.  Larvae of the insect bore into the vascular layer beneat the bark of ash trees, creating distinct S-shaped galleries that slowly cut off the flow of water and nutrients from roots to the rest of the tree, according to MDC.  The insect kills more than 99 percent of the trees it attacks within three to four years of infestation.

The emerald ash borer was found in Laclede County in the winter of 2016 and in Dallas County in January, 2018.  MDC forest entomologist, Robbie Doerhoff, urges people who own ash trees to make a plan now to either treat or remove the trees.  Find more information here.