The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive species of beetle that was accidentally introduced to the United States in 2002 near Detroit Michigan. This beetle primarily feeds on the leaves and bark of ash trees, causing extensive damage and tree death.
The Emerald Ash Borer is Widespread
EAB can infest both healthy and stressed ash trees, and has killed millions of ash trees as a result. EAB has been confirmed in 27 of 50 states, including Missouri and Illinois. If steps are not taken to prevent the spread and impact of EAB, it can cost homeowners and property managers thousands of dollars. The nation itself stands to pay billions of dollars in expenses related to treating, removing, and replanting ash trees.
Symptoms of an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation
If you suspect that EAB has infested your tree, look for these signs and symptoms:
- Canopy dieback can occur within a year of being infested.
- Increased woodpecker activity can be a sign that your ash tree has increased insect activity. If you see more woodpeckers than usual, look for other signs of EAB.
- S-shaped larval galleries are formed when EAB larvae feed on the phloem below the bark. These galleries prevent the tree from properly transporting the water and nutrients it needs.
- Splitting bark occurs when larval galleries dry out the wood and bark.
- D-shaped exit holes are formed when the larvae grow to the adult stage and bores out of the tree.
- Presence of larvae and adults are a sure sign that your tree is infested with EAB. If you see any adults or larvae, seek treatment immediately. Preventive treatments are best and should be prescribed by a certified arborist.
- Epicormic shoots, or extra growth from the roots and trunk, is a sign that your tree is stressed. Remember that not all trees infested with EAB develop these shoots, so it’s important to look for other signs and symptoms and have an arborist confirm.
EAB has a distinct emerald green metallic body that is approximately half an inch long. It is not to be confused with similarly colored beetles like the bronze birch borer, which leaves larger D-shaped exit holes. If you are unsure if your ash is infested with EAB, contact a Certified Arborist.
I Think I Have Ash Trees, What Do I Do?
If you think you may have ash trees, a Certified Arborist can help you confirm the species and help with thoughtful options for treatment or removal to prevent the spread of EAB. The Missouri Department of Conservation has a publication that provides timely information about ash tree and EAB identification and management.
If you have ash trees on your property you need to make an informed decision about what to do with them. EAB is now well established in the St. Louis region and it’s safe to say that all ash trees here are at significant risk. You should consider treating the tree to protect it or removing it and replacing it with a species other than ash. Making this decision can be tricky and should be made with the help of a Certified Arborist.
Treatment Options for EAB
Chemical treatments are very effective at preventing EAB attacks on your tree. Their impact is variable on trees already infested, based mostly on the extent of damage already visible. All chemical treatments are temporary and need to be repeated for the rest of tree’s serviceable life. Hansen’s has organic treatment options available in addition to traditional options. Whichever you choose, both are safe and effective.
Removal and Replacement Options
Hansen’s Certified Arborists can provide an estimate of the cost to remove your ash tree and assist with recommendations for replacement plantings. We will listen closely to your goals and will help you decide if removing the ash tree is the best course of action.