Johnson county deemed infested with emerald ash borer

Photo by USFS Region 5
Photo by USFS Region 5

The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle, has slowly spread across the state of Iowa in recent months and years. First evidence of the insect’s presence in the state of Iowa came around 2010, according to press releases from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Stewardship.

But it wasn’t until February of this year that Iowa City was confirmed to have an infestation of emerald ash borers. Johnson County was the 30th county in the state with such a designation — the total number of infested counties in Iowa has now reached 35.

Emerald ash borers prey on and destroy ash trees. Adults measure close to a half inch in length and can be identified by their metallic-green shell. The grub-like borer larvae live under the bark of the ashes and burrow into the wood, destroying pathways for water and nutrients, eventually causing the trees to die.

Visible symptoms of an infected tree include canopy death (starting from the top downwards), D-shaped exit holes, peeling bark, bored traces and an increased activity from woodpeckers.

According to the Iowa City government’s website, there are approximately 2,000 ash trees on city property, and according to the University of Iowa’s facility management — cited in a press release — there are roughly 560 ash trees on campus: about 7% of total tree species.

Efforts to prevent the spread of the insects include stopping transportation of firewood between counties and states, and by notifying an arborist or contacting the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.