DES MOINES (AP) — The emerald ash borer has been found in a tree in the southeast Iowa city of Fairfield, the Iowa Department of Agriculture said Thursday, making it the third spot where the destructive beetle has been found in the state.
The Agriculture Department announced that the bug was found in a residential tree in the Jefferson County city. Last month, officials declared nearby Des Moines County infested after an emerald ash borer was found in Burlington. Allamakee County, in northeast Iowa, was declared infested in 2010.
The metallic green beetle, which is native of Asia and about the size of a penny, kills any ash tree it infests, though that can take years.
State Entomologist Robin Pruisner said state and federal officials will issue a multicounty quarantine in southeast Iowa soon that will limit the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips.
Most emerald ash borer infestations have been caused by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants and sawmill logs across county and state lines. In Nebraska, officials have begun a voluntary firewood restriction to help stem the tree onslaught.
Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and about 3 million in urban areas, according to the USDA Forest Service.