Utah on high alert after Emerald Ash Borer discovered in Colorado

Jul 14, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm

Emerald Ash Borer (Utah State University Extension)

(Utah State University Extension)

SALT LAKE CITY — The town of Littleton, Colorado is one of the latest places to detect Emerald Ash Borer and officials in Utah are taking steps to prevent the insect from invading Utah.

This beetle has decimated millions of ash trees in the United States and eastern Canada.

The invasive pest was first detected in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002, but based on how many Emerald Ash Borer they found at that time, the USDA believes they’ve been in the United States for much longer.

To date, the insect has been detected in 35 states. Utah is not one of them. According to the town of Littleton, Emerald Ash Borer were first detected in Colorado in 2013. Other than Colorado, the closest state to Utah that has detected Emerald Ash Borer is Oregon.

The beetle burrows in ash trees, while the larvae travel through and feed off the bark, leaving the tree to rot.

Utah officials have never detected the invasive species in the state. But they say they are concerned. 

“We should be worried … we have great concern of Emerald Ash Borer entering the state,” said Utah State Entomologist Kristopher Watson. 

Watson said the beetle is concerning for many reasons. It kills trees and it can cost a lot of money to remove dead trees. Nevertheless, they need to be removed because the weakened trees pose a liability to people and property.

The wheels are already in motion to address Emerald Ash Borer in Utah

Watson said they have taken quite a few steps to prevent that from happening, including trapping them. And the state has banned anyone from bringing in goods that could be housing the beetle or it’s eggs.

In 2017, officials stopped allowing people to bring firewood from other states into Utah. 

In 2021, Utah enacted a similar ban on any and all ash stock from states infested with Emerald Ash Borer.

“To my understanding … we have probably the most aggressive … efforts in the monitoring and detection … for Emerald Ash Borer in the entire nation,” Watson said.

Anybody who has seen an insect that looks like the Emerald Ash Borer or other invasive insect is asked to contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

If it’s feasible, take a picture or capture the bug.

“If we find it … when we find it … we want to be able to take action,” Watson said.

Related reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


An assortment of vegan, organic, locally sourced, and wild caught food products all using plastic p...

Associated Press

How one grocery shopper takes steps to avoid ‘pointless plastic’

Nature wraps bananas and oranges in peels. But in some modern supermarkets, they're bagged or wrapped in plastic too. For one shopper, it's too much.

1 hour ago

FILE: Joana Abeel holds her daughter, Penelope Abeel, at the Draper City Splash Pad during a heat w...

Alexandrea Bonillla and Simone Seikaly

Above-normal temperatures expected for Utah summer

Summer weather predictions point to a La Niña weather pattern which will bring warm temperatures and dry conditions to Utah.

2 hours ago

parleys canyon quarry as it looks now...

Peter Johnston

Critics continue opposition to Parleys Canyon quarry proposal

Controversy over a proposed quarry in Parleys Canyon continues, months after two versions of the proposal died in the legislature.

2 hours ago

High amounts of spring runoff cause swelling of rivers across the state....

Adam Small

Spring runoff causes fast-moving rivers, officials urge caution

Spring runoff is once again in full effect and Utah's rivers, streams and creeks are moving high and fast.

3 hours ago

The search is underway for 25-year-old Tobias Braaten who planned to hike on the Fernwood Trail Fri...

Devin Oldroyd

Fernwood Trail Hiker found Sunday

Tobias Braaten, who went missing near the Fernwood Trail on Saturday, was found safe, hungry, and "in good spirits" on Sunday.

1 day ago

Utah's water supply is doing well. Promontory Point during an EcoFlight around the Great Salt Lake....

Adam Small

Salt Lake having very dry April, but Utah’s water supply is still in top-notch shape

Utah's water supply is growing but Salt Lake City received a dry start to April. Utah might have something to worry about if May is dry.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

Utah on high alert after Emerald Ash Borer discovered in Colorado