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Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Scientific name: Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire)

 The little Emerald Ash Borer is killing big numbers of ash trees. While North America has literally billions of Ash trees, this little insect is killing them by the millions every year. There is no effective treatment for this borer, and there are no natural enemies native to North America. That currently leaves little we can do, to control them. Quarantines, and the removal and proper disposal of infested trees, are the only control methods currently available. And to be frank, they are not working.

Native to Eastern Russia, Northern China, Japan, Mongolia, Korea and Taiwan, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is believed to have accidentally arrived in a cargo shipment from one of these Asian countries. It was first spotted in Ash trees in Michigan in 2002. Major borer infestations exist in  over 14 states, from the Midwest to the Northeast.

The primary target, are black, green, blue and white ash trees.  

Wherever infestations occur, ash trees lose their canopy and die in about 3-4 years.

There is no Emerald Ash Borer treatment or control methods. The trees are large, and there are literally hundreds of millions of European Ash Borers, if not billions of these insects, in trees, forests, communities and neighborhoods. The main control method, is to remove trees that are found to be infested. This insect has no natural enemies, that are native to the U.S. Removal of affected trees, is costing municipalities millions of dollars a year.

If you have an infested tree, remove it immediately. Do not store the wood, as ash borer larvae will over-winter, and emerge in the spring.

Emerald Ash Borer Life Cycle

The ash borer has a one year life cycle. Adult males, are flying beetles, approximately 1 1/2 inch long. Female beetles grow a little larger than males. Adults are active during the day, from mid-June to mid-August.  Females then mate, and will lay 60 to 90 eggs into the crevices of the trunk and branches of ash trees.

The eggs hatch in 7-10 days, and the larvae bore or chew into the bark of the tree, feeding on the phloem and the outer sapwood. Larvae over-winter in the bark, emerging in April or May through "D" shaped holes. Pupation occurs shortly after, with adult beetles emerging, to begin the destructive cycle anew.

Signs of Emerald Ash Borer Damage

Ash Tree Borer Damage

Large numbers of larvae damage the tree, disrupting the flow of nutrients and water up the tree. You may or may not actually see the insects on the tree trunks, either in adult or larvae stages.

Signs of tree damage include:

  • Increasing number of holes in the bark.
  • The appearance of "D" shaped holes, occurring the first year after infestation begins.
  • Yellowing foliage
  • Tree canopy appears weak and thin.
  • Shoots growing from the roots and trunk, as the tree tries to compensate for the lack of foliage.

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