KEARNEY, Neb. — Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was confirmed in Kearney by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Now that the beetle has made its way to central Nebraska, how it will affect other ash trees?
"We all kind of know what to look for and always have our eyes peeled for it," said the Kearney Parks and Rec Assistant City Forester Mike Fearnley.
It's been four years since the EAB was first found in the state, and now it's made its way to central Nebraska.
"It's really dependent on having people out there looking for it. Low level infestations can really go undetected for a significant amount of time like two or three years. This was a situation where staff with the city of Kearney had done a really good job of educating themselves on what to look for. They were out doing their regular tree maintenance and they saw a tree and said 'wow, we think this looks like Emerald Ash Borer, we should contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture," said a Nebraska Department of Agriculture State Entomologist Julie Van Meter.
The first sign of EAB on a tree is the thinning branches at the top, but as you get closer you can see other signs including small D-shaped holes. If you peel back the bark, you'll also see the beetle's feeding patterns underneath.
"Emerald Ash Borer because it's an invasive species we don't have any natural predators like we would on some of our native diseases or insects. It feeds right behind the bark right where all the water and nutrient movement happens within the tree. If we get a large enough infestation what it does is it pretty much stops the sap flow in the tree. That's where we start to see the canopy die back in that tree because the tree is not able to take water up to its upper canopy," said Nebraska Extension Educator Elizabeth Exstrom.
Upon discovery of EAB, the area its found in is then put in a quarantine with a 15-mile radius to prevent the spread to other ash trees elsewhere.
"We've enacted quarantine that regulate the movement of specific products from the quarantine area from the areas outside to prevent the spread of it," said Van Meter.
If you don't want to take your ash tree down right away, you could also treat it while another grows in its place.
"If you do have an ash tree, you suspect it could be infested or if you just want to be proactive and remove your ash tree, we recommend you do that prior to the tree dying completely because it's just safer for the public and anyone involved," said Exstrom.