Emerald Ash Wood Borer can be one of the most damaging pests to affect your tree, and it can be one of the most common unfortunate pests throughout most of the United States. Even though the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is native to northeastern Asia, it can be a massive problem in gardens in parts of North American cities as well.
Wood borers can destroy the structural integrity of the tree, and completely kill its growth. In fact, severe EAB infestations can wipe out an entire forest. Amazingly, the EAB life cycle can last up to two years.
How Do I Know If My Tree Has Emerald Ash Wood Borer?
The Basics – About Emerald Ash Wood Borer
Although Emerald Ash Wood Borers are little creatures, an infestation can spread through a line of healthy trees quicker than a wildfire hits a dry forest. While native to northeastern Asia, EAB can be found anywhere they can find trees to attach themselves to.
Their love for ash trees is where they get part of their name, and their often green tinge is where they get the other part. The scientific name for Emerald Ash Borers is Grilus Planipennis, which is Latin.
A one to two-year average life cycle makes EAB hard to eradicate.
What’s worse, EAB can be difficult to spot at the beginning of an infestation unless you know the signs and symptoms of EAB to look for. EAB get to do most of their damage to trees because most people don’t know how to spot signs of EAB.
Spot the Signs
If you suspect that you might have a wood borer infestation, the first thing that you should do is take a closer look at the bark. While it’s not the only sign of an infestation, the holes that wood borers leave upon exiting a tree are one of the first ones a professional checks.
Wood borer holes are usually U-shaped, and made as they exit the wood. These holes can look similar to buckshot that has been aimed at the trunk of the tree. If you see these types of holes, you probably have an infestation already and you are likely to see the other signs of wood borers.
Changes in the bark are another common sign of a wood borer infestation. Emerald Ash Borers will cause deformations in the structure of the bark as they move around which will oftentimes cause the bark to crack.
Look for any splitting bark or cracking bark in parts of the tree, often from the base to the middle. Dry pieces of bark might start to split open, and you will see channels if you lift up the bark some.
These channels beneath the bark are created as EAB move around the wood. This is the stage you will see right before the exit holes (or often together).
Any changes in what would normally be a smooth tree finish should be noted, especially if the characteristic channels can be seen in the wood.
Under the Hood
If you have seen either the U-shaped exit holes or some of the channels, it’s time to lift up a small section of bark near the base of the tree. To be completely sure that you might have an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, the sure signs can be seen under the hood.
The most common sign of an EAB infestation under the bark are the channels that these creatures create. However, in some cases, you might find EAB larvae or active bugs as well.
Against the wood, Emerald Ash Borers are extremely easy to spot as they are light to dark emerald green. Often hiding behind the bark, they don’t camouflage very well in open sight.
Damage to the Tree
There’s one more common sign that can point to a serious bug infestation somewhere in your tree. At its worst, an emerald ash infestation could start to affect the growth of the tree – usually to the top, where new growth can no longer be pushed outward.
When the infestation has taken root, the bugs can choke out a tree’s nutrients and water supply. Let’s not forget that Emerald Ash Borers are still an invasive parasite, even if they are quite something to look at.
While it is possible to treat EAB on your own, it is best to contact a local arborist to help treat an infested tree.
Learn more about emerald ash borer treatment in Omaha.
Additional Information: Homeowners Encouraged to Remove Ash Trees – City of Omaha, NE
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