Emerald Ash Borer: The Ash Nightmare

By Rachel Murray

Many US cities are preparing for an Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis (EAB) invasion. The EAB is native to northern Asia, but was discovered in Michigan and Ontario in 2002. The adult EAB has a bright outer metallic green color, with copper colored abdominal. It is roughly half an inch long, and only one eighth of inch wide. The EAB larva is milky white with bell shaped segments. Since it is discovery it has spread to over 25 states and most of eastern Canada. The invasion continues to move west. Already 70 million ash trees have been infected and there is a chance of losing a large percentage ash trees in North America. East Texas has already been affected by the EAB. There is a chance that EABs will travel to the DWF metroplex.

You can easily identify if your tree has been infected or not. When an EAB larva bores in to an ash tree, they create a winding S shape path, called galleries. These galleries become visible when the bark begins to split. If your tree is infected, callous tissue will start to form causing the bark to become weak. Another thing to look out for is D shape holes. After they become an adult, the EAB exits the tree and create the hole. You can recognize if your tree has been infected by checking for the S shaped galleries and D shape holes. A citizen can also observe if the tree has been infected by watching for  epicormic shoots.  Epicormic shoots are small shoots that grow from previously dormant branches. If you can identify these factors on your tree, it is likely it has been infected and needs to be treated.

There is multiple ways for you to prevent the invasion of EAB. Most time if an ash tree gets infected it will die in 2-3 years. At this time it would be helpful for you to remove your tree and replace it with another species.  As a citizen you can also spray/inject pesticides for your ash tree. You will have to do this annually, but most the time is will protect your trees from the EAB. To reduce the spread of EAB larvae, do not bring any firewood or ash wood into the area. Even after a tree is cut down the EAB larva can survive and continue to infect the area. Also when you do store firewood, be sure to always keep it away from existing trees, in case of any other pests.

Being observant of signs and knowing the prevention’s can help us stay protected from the emerald Ash Borer.

Picture credits:

Arbor Day Foundation

Emeraldashborer.info