Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Sioux Falls

Emerald ash borer, an exotic insect responsible for the loss of more than 100 million ash trees in the United States over the past two decades, has now been discovered in Sioux Falls. This is the first confirmed infestation in South Dakota.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) was found in northern Sioux Falls. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture received confirmation this morning, May 9, that the insect is indeed EAB. The confirmation was made by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. The infestation so far appears to be confined to a relatively small area. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture is conducting surveys to verify the extent of the infestation.

“The City of Sioux Falls has been preparing for this inevitable discovery, and we are working to refine our plans now that the infestation has been confirmed. The good news is that we have time, as this is a very slow process, and the City is well positioned financially to take on this new challenge,” says Don Kearney, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Going forward, the administration will develop a more detailed plan to address EAB and incorporate that as part of our budgeting process for 2019.”

Here is what the public needs to know about this discovery.

  • Because moving ash wood can cause further spread of the insects, an emergency quarantine area has been implemented effective immediately. The quarantine restricts the movement of ash materials in all of Minnehaha County, in areas north of Highway 18 in Lincoln County, and north of Highway 18 and east of Highway 19 in Turner County. No wood waste, including firewood, can cross those lines at any time of year.
  • No movement of ash tree wood product even within the quarantined area should occur between May 1 and October 1, as the insects are active during warmer weather.
  • If you live within the quarantined area, your ash trees may be infested. The City will NOT be inspecting trees on private property. If you are concerned about the condition of your trees, please call a licensed arborist.
  • Emerald ash borer does kill ash trees, but the process is gradual, and the spread takes time. It can take a number of years for the insect to kill a tree. It likely will be a decade or more before most of the ash trees in Sioux Falls have been overcome by the insects.
  • Some treatment options are effective to protect ash trees and slow the progression of the infestation. Tree injection is the most effective method for treatment and should be done by only a licensed arborist. To find a list of licensed arborists in Sioux Falls, go to www.siouxfalls.org/eab. Treatments are required every two years.
  • Trimming or removing ash trees on private property is not recommended at this time. Trimming the trees can make them more vulnerable to the insect, and moving the wood waste can hasten the spread.
  • Emerald ash borer affects only ash trees, so other types of trees are not at risk.

An informational forum is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Outdoor Campus, 4500 South Oxbow Avenue, to answer the community’s questions regarding this discovery.

More information about EAB is available at www.siouxfalls.org/eab. Regular updates will be provided as more information becomes available.