The beetles, which are native to Asia and about the size of a penny, and were first detected in Michigan in 2002. Since then the insects have killed more than 50 million trees as the infestation moves from state to state, a DNR report said.
Burlington, with a population of more than 25,000, is the largest city in Iowa with evidence of the emerald ash borer in its urban forest, Feeley said.
The state also will be confronted with the issue of what to do with dead infested trees. The DNR estimates that ash trees are about 15 percent of Iowa's urban and rural forests.
"That's a lot of wood in a relatively short time to make decisions about," Tauke said.
The U.S. Forest Service 2008 inventory indicated that there are 52 million woodland ash trees and 3.1 million urban ash trees in Iowa.