Ash tree beetle treatment concerning to homeowners

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 00:44:19-04

A case of the emerald ash borer (EAB) was confirmed in Omaha on Wednesday. 

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced the beetle was found on an ash tree at Pulaski Park.

The EAB is tiny and can fly up to two miles at a time, making every ash tree in Omaha at risk. The beetle is blamed for causing billions of dollars worth of tree damage across the country.

The case of EAB in south Omaha now has residents concerned in what action to take to preserve their trees.

The Nebraska Forest Service recommends residents with ash trees in and around Omaha - and municipalities throughout the state begin treatment. 

Kyle Martens from the Nebraska Forest Service says the first step residents should take with the ash trees is deciding whether or not they want to preserve their trees.

He says the best way to prolong the life of the tree is by applying trunk injections. 

Martens says people in the Omaha area should be proactive in dealing with EAB, but people who are outside city limits should wait for the beetle to get closer.

"If you're doing that before it's in your immediate area, which is that 15 mile, you're essentially weakening the tree," says Marten. 

Marten says it's not likely all the ash trees in Omaha disappear since the city is being proactive with treatment, but the state has issued a quarantine prohibiting the removal of firewood out of the effected area. 

"It's extremely important that people don't move firewood outside of quarantine, after all, that is the primary way the EAB will spread," says Marten. 

This is the only confirmed case in the city but officials say it's entirely possible the beetle has been here for a couple of years.