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EAB Found in Madison; Dane County to be Quarantined
November 26, 2013

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Contact:  Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130,
               Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020,

MADISON – Emerald ash borer has been found on the north side of Madison in the area of one of the city's major parks. Dane County, where Madison is located, will become the 21st county in Wisconsin quarantined for EAB.

"We're disappointed, but not surprised, given the ease with which this pest can hitchhike with the help of humans and the proximity to infestations in southeastern Wisconsin and Sauk County," said Brian Kuhn, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "However, the city of Madison is among the best-prepared cities in the state, having put great effort into monitoring for the pest, inventorying ash trees and replacing them when possible, and planning its response."

A private tree care contractor working for the city first found the telltale "galleries" – tunnels the insects make under the bark of ash trees – during work in the Warner Park area.  City employees then systematically removed bark from trees in the area and found EAB larvae, the immature life stage, overwintering. They sent the larvae to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for initial identification and to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for confirmation. That confirmation arrived Friday, Nov. 22.

The quarantine will apply to all of Dane County. It prohibits ash wood products and hardwood firewood from being moved out of the county to areas that are not infested.

For private citizens, this means that residents cannot take firewood from Dane County to non-quarantine counties, and campers in parks within the county cannot carry leftover firewood home with them if they live outside of Dane County.

For businesses handling wood products that could carry EAB, it means that they must work with DATCP to assure that their products are pest-free before shipping.

The quarantine will be put in place temporarily by a Wisconsin emergency rule, until the U.S. Department of Agriculture completes the process to put a federal quarantine in place.

DATCP recommends that property owners who have ash trees in quarantine counties:


  • Keep a close watch on ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation:  Thinning in the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark, and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
  • Consider preventive treatments if your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation. Whether to treat depends on the age, size and number of ash trees. Treatment costs vary depending on size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional.
  • Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
  • Call a professional arborist for expert advice, and visit for detailed information.


Emerald ash borer is native to China and probably entered the United States on packing material, showing up first in Michigan about 10 years ago. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 in Washington County. Dane County will join 20 others under quarantine in Wisconsin:  Brown, Crawford, Dodge, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago counties.

EAB adults lay eggs on the bark of ash trees in mid- to late summer. When the eggs hatch a week or two later, the larvae burrow under the bark for the winter and eat the wood, forming the characteristic S-shaped tunnels and destroying the tree's ability to take up nutrients and water. In summer, the adults emerge through D-shaped holes in the bark.

The Wisconsin Emerald Ash Borer Program includes partners from the following agencies:  Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; University of Wisconsin – Madison; UW-Extension; United States Department of Agriculture- Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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