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June 11, 2018 10:04 PM

Emerald Ash Borer In KELOLAND: An Update

Sioux Falls, SD

A little over a month ago, we told you about the discovery of the emerald ash borer in KELOLAND. Now, we have an update for you on the insect's presence. 

Monday night at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Sioux Falls, two state officials spoke at a workshop about the emerald ash borer, which has killed more than 100 million ash trees over the last 20 years in the United States. 

John Ball, forest health specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, had some good news before the workshop started when KELOLAND News asked him how the pushback against the insect is going.

"Oh very good, in fact, as I kind of expected, we'd have a little bit of panic if you will. Not much, they're South Dakotans, but now it's kind of settled down. But you know what, I'll tell you what's going to happen. Next year, people are going to forget about it. Because next year you're not going to see lots of dying trees," Ball said. 

But he's looking beyond one year away.

"It's in about three to five years, when people start noticing trees falling in the street 'cause they're dead, they're going to say, 'Well how come you didn't tell us about this?'" Ball said.

If an ash tree is attacked by the emerald ash borer, and it's not treated by insecticide, the tree will die.

"That's an absolute, it'll take it four years, and if they don't treat it during that time period and continue to treat it, yes, we do not have any ash trees that are going to survive this. We all like to think our ash trees are tougher; they're not, alright. They're all going to die," Ball said.  

Ball says around 250 trees in the city have the insect. That number will go up. In the coming weeks, the federal government will release wasps. But this isn't the solution.

"We're going to be releasing some, and it is going to help slow the population a little bit, and the wasp only attacks emerald ash borer, not people, but it's not going to be the control," Ball said. "I get people now calling, 'Well I hear they're going to release the wasps, so I don't need to treat my tree.' No, you still need to treat your tree, alright. So it's just going to be a little bit of a help." 

For previous coverage of the emerald ash borer in KELOLAND, visit our page we put together.

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  • Sioux Falls, SD

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A word was omitted in a prior version of this story



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