Emerald ash borer found in trees just outside Wausau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Emerald ash borer found in trees just outside Wausau

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MADISON, Wis. (WAOW) -

The invasive pest that kills ash trees has been found in Marathon County for the first time, meaning the county will be added to a growing quarantine list, a state agency said Thursday.

A tree care service found trees invested with emerald ash borers on private property along the Wisconsin River in the Town of Rib Mountain, adjacent to Wausau, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Projection.

The discovery means ash wood products and hardwood firewood cannot be taken to places not under quarantine, the agency said in a statement.

The insect feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients and eventually kills them. The beetle has now been found in 46 Wisconsin counties.

"Although we have now found EAB in well over half the counties in Wisconsin, much of the area in those counties remains uninfested," Brian Kuhn, a plant expert for the Agriculture Department said. "Human activity has caused these scattered infestations, not natural spread of the insect. So, it's still important for people not to move firewood out of infested areas, even within their own quarantined counties."

The emerald ash borer, which is native to China, was first discovered in North America near Detroit in 2002, likely arriving on packing material, and has spread to Canada and more than a dozen states, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. It was found for the first time in Wisconsin in August 2008 in the southeast corner of the state.

The beetle has killed millions of trees in the United States .

Signs of ash trees infected by the insect include thinning or dying branches in the upper canopy, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes and water sprouts along the trunk and main branches.

An estimated 834 million ash trees are in Wisconsin's forestlands, the DNR said.

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