LINCOLN, Neb. – Emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP) on June 6 and has been confirmed by a state entomologist.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) staff found EAB in a baited trap at the park’s Lakeside Campground.
EAB is an invasive beetle native to Asia. It kills ash trees when its larvae feed on the inner bark, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.
Since first discovered in the United States in 2002, EAB has spread to 33 states and Canada. EAB first was discovered in Nebraska in Omaha and Greenwood in June of 2016. The Mahoney SP discovery and confirmation of EAB is the fourth in eastern Nebraska since in 2016.
NDA has conducted surveys at several Nebraska Game and Parks Commission properties for the past 10 years. Staff of NDA, United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Nebraska Forest Service and Game and Parks have suspected for several years that EAB might be present in Nebraska. All believed survey traps and routine inspections were important.
Game and Parks began a Voluntary Firewood Restriction at all of its state park areas in 2013 to help prevent or limit the ultimate discovery of EAB on its properties. This ban asks all nonresident visitors not to bring firewood from any other state into state park areas. Game and Parks offers a free firewood exchange at 10 major parks and recreation areas to those who brought wood from other states. The ban also asks that any resident or nonresident visitors acquire their firewood within 50 miles of their park destination rather than bring it from home. Visitors to Nebraska’s state park areas are allowed to collect deadfall wood on the ground for burning in their campfires.
Game and Parks staff will treat select ash trees at Mahoney State Park. Initial extensive removal or clearing of trees in the park is not expected. Game and Parks is concerned about the safety of its park visitors. Any trees that are deemed hazardous during routine inspections will be removed to protect visitors and their property.