What is Emerald Ash Borer?
Emerald Ash Borer is a species of beetle that feeds on Ash trees. They came to the US in wooden packing material from China. Emerald Ash Borer beetles are a relatively new problem in Ohio. They became widespread in our area in the early 2000s. EAB is a big problem here because of our state's large Ash tree population.
Female Emerald Ash Borer leave their eggs underneath the bark of ash trees. After the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the tree emerging a year later as an adult to mate and continue their life cycle.
How to Tell If Your Tree Has Emerald Ash Borer
There are a few symptoms that can be used to identify an Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Many of the symptoms are similar to other diseases that can affect Ash trees so usually more than one symptom is used for diagnosis.
Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer
Crown dieback is a symptom of Emerald Ash Borer. A tree with crown dieback looks like it’s dying from the top. It usually shows up in trees that have been affected with Emerald Ash Borer for several seasons.
Epicormic shoots are another symptom of Emerald Ash Borer. Epicormic shoots look like suckers and fresh growth occurring off the base and low branches of the tree. This is a sign of a diseased tree trying to grow where it can, usually below the EAB infestation.
Woodpecker damage can also be a symptom of Emerald Ash Borer. Woodpeckers eat EAB larvae, so they are frequently found on affected trees. Woodpecker damage looks like strips of bark pulled off of the tree.
Signs of Emerald Ash Borer
D shaped emergence holes on your tree are a sign of Emerald Ash Borer. These holes are emergence holes, where EAB emerge from the tree in the spring.
S shaped designs on your tree under the bark are a sign of Emerald Ash Borer larvae. EAB larvae bore through the tree in S shapes, feeding off the wood and leaving an S shaped trail of poop.
Spotting Emerald Ash Borer beetles or their larvae signal an infestation and mitigation efforts should be taken.
What You Should Do If You Suspect Your Tree Has Emerald Ash Borer
Don’t wait to treat a tree infested with Emerald Ash Borer. It’s important to treat infestations to prevent the pest from spreading. Emerald Ash Borer beetles can fly, but people transporting affected wood usually spread them. If you have a tree with Emerald Ash Borer cut down do not transport the wood. It's also important to purchase firewood where it will be used, do not transport firewood from county to county.
To prevent a healthy Ash tree from getting Emerald Ash Borer you can spray it with a systemic insecticide, applied at the base of the tree. It is a pretty harsh chemical, but necessary to prevent the spread of this pest.
For trees already infected by Emerald Ash Borer, it’s best to contact an arborist. They will be able to determine if the tree can be saved or if it needs to be removed. All Emerald Ash Borer infestations should be reported to the agricultural department. They have a toll free hotline specifically for tracking and reporting EAB – 1-866-322-4512.
*Emerald ash borer images courtesy of http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/pdfs/26856.pdf