Jun 30, 2020 12:40 AM

Emerald ash borer found in Kearney as insect spreads west

Posted Jun 30, 2020 12:40 AM

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - The emerald ash borer has been found in Kearney, marking the first time the destructive insect has been confirmed in the state outside of eastern Nebraska, officials announced Monday.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture confirmed the emerald ash borer was found in a tree along a Kearney street after it was first spotted by city parks and recreation staff. The insect was found in Omaha in 2016 but the Buffalo County confirmation is the first time its spread has been confirmed so far west.

The invasive beetle, which attacks and slowly kills ash trees, was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and now has been found in 35 states.

Eight Nebraska counties are under quarantine, which prohibits ash nursery stock from leaving those areas and regulating the movement of products including hardwood firewood and mulch.