Emerald Ash Borers (EAB) are a major threat in many parts of the United States, responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees.
The bright metallic-green adult EAB can be smaller than a dime but is capable of taking down trees thousands of times its size. They are typically 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Eggs are extremely small – approximately 1/25 of an inch – and are reddish-brown in color. Larvae are white, worm-like flat-headed borers, with distinct segmentation.
Damage From Emerald Ash Borers
Adults emerge from infested ash trees in late spring - earlier if the weather is warm – leaving D-shaped holes in the bark. Females lay their eggs on ash trees shortly after. The resulting larvae bore into the trees and feed under the bark, leaving visible tracks underneath. The feeding disrupts the transport of water and nutrients, resulting in dieback and bark splitting. Small trees can die in as quickly as one to two years, while larger trees may succumb in three to four years.
The negative impacts of EAB infestation don't end with the death of the tree. Usually a tree service must be hired to remove the dead tree, which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Learn the symptoms of EAB: thinning or dying of tree crowns, suckers at the base of the tree or in branch crotches, splitting bark, tunneling under the bark, D-shaped exit holes and woodpecker activity.
Where Emerald Ash Borers are Found Geographically
As of April 2019, Emerald Ash Borer is currently found east of the Rocky Mountains but as far West as the Denver, Colorado area and as far South as Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. In most states where it has been found, quarantines restrict movement of plants and firewood. For the latest information on the spread of EAB visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/timeline/by_county/index.html.
How to Take Action
- Contact the USDA Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or your local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office if you think you've found an EAB infestation.
- Contact information for your local APHIS office can be found at the USDA's Stop the Beetle campaign website, www.stopthebeetle.info. For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, visit www.emeraldashborer.info
- Record the area where you found the insect, and take photos of the insect and visible damage.
- Do not remove firewood from your property or carry it across state or quarantine boundaries.
- Buy firewood from locally; if possible, buy kiln-dried firewood.
- Before spring, burn your remaining ash firewood to prevent the spread of pests to live trees.