Emerald ash beetle scam surfaces in Monett area

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Caution urged of people offering tree service solutions

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) teamed up with the City of Monett this week to squelch false reports about the presence of a tree pest in Barry and Lawrence counties.

The emerald ash borer (EAB) – a non-native beetle that causes fatal damage to ash trees – has not been found in either Barry or Lawrence counties,, according to Department on Conservation foresters. Monett city officials helped relay the message to homeowners in the Monett area. MDC contacted city officials after receiving reports of individuals supposedly representing tree removal services who were going door-to-door in Monett and the surrounding vicinity in Barry and Lawrence counties giving false information about EAB infestations of ash trees.

Contacted homeowners said these individuals have offered to either completely remove the tree or to apply a tree insecticide to combat EAB.

MDC foresters want to inform the public that EAB has not been found in Barry or Lawrence counties. Thus, the removal of ash trees or the application of tree insecticide would be both unnecessary and costly to homeowners in and around Monett.

MDC would like to remind homeowners that, when hiring a tree professional or company to work on their trees, follow these tips:

• Check the phone directory, usually under “trees, tree service, or tree care service.” While it's true anyone can have a listing, it's equally true that a listing usually indicates some level of permanence in their field.

• Most reputable companies do not need to knock on doors for customers. They will have all the business they can handle.

• If someone knocks on the door offering tree services, find out if they have state or private certification. Good certifications include the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

• Find out if they have a city business license. If they do not, and your community requires one, they are not to be working in your town.

• Ask for proof of insurance for both liability and worker’s compensation. Then call the insurance company to verify it.

• Ask for local references. They should be happy to show you other work they have done.

• Determine if they are a member of a professional organization like ISA or TCIA.

• Do not be rushed by bargains that are offered and never pay in advance.

• Check with multiple companies to get the best-qualified and best price. Good arborists offer a wide range of services.

Information about the emerald ash borer can be found at: mdc.mo.gov//wildlife/nuisance-problem-species/invasive-species/emerald-ash-borer-management