emerald ash borer

What Can I Do About Emerald Ash Borer?

From wildfires to drought and severe weather, trees have to put up with a lot. It should not be forgotten that our trees are also being devastated by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). This invasive insect, originally from Asia courtesy of a ride on wooden packaging from China, has turned up in America. It was first found in Detroit in 2002. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the Emerald Ash Borer as well as ways to prevent EAB infestation.

What Can I Do About Emerald Ash Borer?

What does EAB look like?

The EAB beetle is smaller than a dime and is bright metallic green in color. Adult EAB range in size from 0.5 inches to 1,8 inches wide. EAB eggs are very small at around 1.25 inches. While the eggs are reddish-brown, the larvae or grubs are white and can be recognized by their segmentation. It’s difficult to imagine that something so small can destroy a tree.

Ash Trees are at risk

Experts estimate that throughout the U.S. and Canada, tens of millions of ash trees have been laid to waste, 40 million in Michigan alone. Furthermore, Emerald Ash Borer is spreading fast. America is thought to be home to 7 to 9 billion ash trees and they play a vital role in the US economy.

Manufacturers use the wood from ash trees to make tool handles, furniture, baseball bats, electric guitars, and drums. The billions of trees are also good for the environment turning CO2 into oxygen. Understandably, ash trees are a valuable resource in North America.

Current Location

Emerald Ash Borer is currently found in areas of Canada and the Midwestern and eastern U.S. Many states have imposed restrictions on the movement of firewood and plants to try and stop the spread of EAB. The states that have restrictions on the movement of firewood and plants include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Signs of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

Now is the time for vigilance. In mid to late-May adults emerge, but in warmer weather, they do appear earlier. They can be detected by the D-shaped holes they make to exit from inside the tree. These holes are a sign that mating is about to begin. Eggs are laid on branches by the females. Once hatched, the larvae bore back into the tree and gorge themselves under the bark. In doing so, they leave visible tracks. This feeding impact’s the tree’s own distribution of nutrients and water. Consequently, a tree can die within two to four years depending on its age and size. Once this happens, homeowners will incur the costs of professional tree removal. Here is a list of signs of EAB:

  • Dying or thinning tree crowns
  • Suckers ensconced at the bottom of the trunk, particularly at the base
  • Split and peeling bark
  • Tunneling under the bark
  • D-shaped exit holes
  • An Increase in woodpecker activity

Firewood Management

Firewood management is particularly important as the EAB is hidden in and under the bark. The suggestions regarding firewood below will help to stop the EAB from spreading.

  • Leave firewood in place. Moving it off your property and across state lines will only help EAB spread.
  • Only purchase locally sourced firewood. Use the firewood directly after purchasing it. Be sure to only burn it at home.
  • Whenever possible, purchase kiln-dried firewood.
  • Burn any firewood you have before the start of spring to prevent EAB from infecting the trees in your yard.

Chemical Management

Although it is not ideal, applying chemicals such as an insecticide like Imidacloprid can protect trees. While spring is the best time to apply insecticide, it will also work if you apply it in the fall. However, for trees with a circumference in excess of 50 inches, the treatment might be less effective.

Think you have found EAB in Nebraska?

Please report signs of an EAB infestation to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351, the Nebraska Forest Service at 402-472-2944 or your local USDA office at 402-434-2345.

Communicate with friends, neighbors, and co-workers to make them aware of EAB and what they can do to help. Circulating this article in your community would be a great start!

Additional Reading: Emerald Ash Borer – City of Omaha Parks & Recreation

Tree Services of Omaha

Tree Services of Omaha, Nebraska is a full-service tree care provider that offers a wide range of arborist services including but not limited to: Tree Removal Services, Tree Trimming, Tree Pruning, Tree and shrubs Shaping, Stump Removal, Stump Grinding, Arborist Consultations, Systemic Tree Injections.

Contact us today for a free estimate!