The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) was discovered in Michigan in June 2002. It is a species of metallic wood boring beetle (Buprestidae) that attacks ash (Fraxinus), usually killing trees in one-three years, when beetle populations are high. When beetle populations are low (i.e., a new infestation) it can take 5 or more years for trees to die.

This beetle has been found in 30 states and two Canadian Provinces (map). The bulk of the Federal quarantine extends from southern Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri east to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York. Infestations have been confirmed in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This insect was first found in southeast Wisconsin in July of 2008, southwest Wisconsin in April of 2009, and was detected in Brown County (Green Bay area) in July 2009. Since then, infestations have been discovered throughout the southern half of Wisconsin and a few Northern counties.

Currently, 49 Wisconsin counties have been quarantined for EAB: Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Jackson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sawyer, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, and Wood counties. A list of municipalities (by county) with known EAB infestations can be found here.  For the most recent information on the current EAB quarantines in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin DATCP EAB website.  To learn about restrictions on the movement of firewood, see this map from Wisconsin DATCP.

Wisconsin Counties currently quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer (Current as of December 4, 2017). Map courtesy of WI-DATCP.

Why the Concern?

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an aggressive wood borer that attacks and kills all species of ash. Ash wood is used in making flooring, baseball bats, tool handles, and cabinets. It is estimated that there are well over 700 million ash trees in Wisconsin. Although stressed trees are typically more prone to borer attack, the Emerald Ash Borer can attack and kill both healthy and stressed trees.

Wisconsin’s Approach

The main defense in Wisconsin is to identify infestations before they can become widespread.  THis will allow local municipalities and other groups time to prepare and take appropriate actions. The most likely source of problems is infested firewood that has been brought into the state from infested areas. For this reason, the Department of Natural Resources is conducting a statewide survey of state forests and parks, specifically looking for signs of this insect. The insect can also be transported in infested nursery stock. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will be conducting a statewide survey of nurseries, searching for signs of this insect. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection also conducts trapping efforts using prism traps.