An invasive beetle that kills ash trees has been found in Eau Claire.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed that the emerald ash borer was found in a dying ash tree on the UW-Eau Claire campus near Water Street.
“This insect has likely been in this particular tree for quite some time,” Todd Chwala of the Eau Claire’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department said in a news release sent Monday by the city.
He noted that woodpeckers were attracted to the tree prior to people suspecting it was infested by ash borers.
This is the first confirmed ash borer infestation in the city and Eau Claire County, but neighboring counties including Chippewa and Trempealeau previously had reported the insect’s presence.
The beetle feasts on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting their ability to transport water and nutrients. Signs of ash borer infestation include thinning or dying branches in the upper canopy, woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding patterns underneath dead bark, D-shaped exit holes created by the adult insects and water sprouts along the trunk and large branches.
Anticipating the bug’s arrival, the city has employed a management plan for the past five seasons that includes selective ash removal and treatment, plus planting of a more diverse selection of trees in public areas.