Emerald Ash Borer found for first time within city of La Crosse

Published On: Oct 31 2012 12:13:45 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 31 2012 08:30:24 AM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

There's bad news for thousands of trees in La Crosse. The Emerald Ash Borer has found its way into the city limits for the first time.

The invasive pest was found near Valley View Mall.

The Ash Borer feeds off of an Ash Tree until it dies, then moves on to the next one.

Local officials say with how easy it can travel, this day was inevitable. "This isn't a surprise, I guess it's something we've known about for quite some time now, but it's just finding that first one," said La Crosse Park and Rec Supervisor Jay Odegaard.

Officials will start checking other nearby trees for infestations.

The tree was spotted by someone in town for an Invasive Species Expo. He works throughout the Midwest helping communities deal with invasive species and knew the signs to look for. "The gallery is S-shaped, it's kind of a serpentine gallery goes back and forth and that's very indicitive of Emeral Ash Borer. It's the only insect that feeds on ash trees that's going to make that shaped gallery," said Jeff Palmer.

Experts estimate the more than 5,000 ash trees in the city will be infected within the next eight years.