No Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Found through new Branch Sampling Program

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 11:51am

Madison Parks Forestry Section concluded a new 'Branch Sampling' test program for early EAB detection this week. No evidence of emerald ash borer was detected.

In March, Madison Parks Forestry personnel began a new program of branch sampling to assist with early EAB detection. Staff systematically collected 550 ash tree branches from 276 street trees in designated plots spaced at one mile intervals throughout the city, peeled away the bark and searched for EAB larvae. In this sampling, no evidence of the EAB larvae was discovered.

Branch sampling is a new approach to EAB detection. This detection method provides a more sensitive measure than the visual evaluation and the purple traps used by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Agency. Branch sampling has proven to be 75% effective at finding EAB in low-level infestations. Incorporating branch sampling into our work will allow for better decisions on what strategies the City should consider for EAB response.

"It's great to get these positive results and I am pleased that Madison Parks Forestry staff was able to conduct this sampling," said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "There is no question however, that EAB will reach Madison eventually and City staff will continue to prepare for the invasion. I am confident that this effort will make a difference as we work together on this very serious issue."

EAB is one of America's most invasive tree pests. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree's nutrients. EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Although EAB has been found in Wisconsin, it hasn't been detected in the City of Madison or in Dane County or the immediate surrounding counties.

The City of Madison established an EAB Task Force in January of 2008. The City's EAB task force provided their recommendations to Mayor and Common Council in November 2011. Their recommendations can be found here: EAB Task Force Report: Executive Summary and Recommendations. The Mayor and Madison Common Council will be making some decisions as to what strategies the City will take. To learn more about the potential strategies see the City of Madison EAB Plan: Potential Strategies and Issues Overview.

  • Laura Whitmore, 266-5949