The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Now is time to protect ash trees from EAB

March 19, 2018 | Jodi Baker | EAB, trees
EAB ash trees

The emerald ash borer (EAB) made its way to Nebraska a couple of years ago. The beetle is tiny, just one-eighth-inch-wide and one-half-inch-long. But it causes huge damage.

Infestations move through areas quickly, killing about 70 percent of unprotected ash trees within four years of initial discovery. This not only threatens our landscaping and community tree canopy, but also electric service, if ash trees are close to power lines.

EAB lay eggs on the bark of ash trees, and when eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the bark and feed on tree tissue. This cuts off the pathway for trees to receive water and nutrients. Dying trees don’t just lose leaves, they weaken until their trunks snap near the base, and trees come crashing down.


Property owners are responsible for either treating their ash trees to prevent EAB, or completely removing their ash trees. The Nebraska Forest Service offers more information safety risks and liability involving diseased trees. 

Treatment needs to be repeated every one to two years, depending on the type of insecticide used, for the life of the tree. It should begin in the spring, once EAB is within 15 miles of your location. That’s the case for most of OPPD’s service territory. Costs vary, depending on the type of insecticide used. Check with a certified arborist to help determine whether ash tree treatment or removal is your best option.

For more information, visit the state’s Emerald Ash Borer Resource Center.

Emerald Ash Borer in Nebraska

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker contributes stories to The Wire in addition to serving as a media liaison for OPPD. She was a reporter, working for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to San Diego, prior to joining the utility in 2013. Jodi has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, with a minor in Criminal Justice. She’s married with two older children and two younger dogs – Shi Tzu mixes. She loves watching her daughter’s track meets, going to concerts with her husband Dave, who used to co-host a local music video program, and traveling whenever possible.

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