Pest Alert: Update On Emerald Ash Borer

Green ash tree (F. pennsylvanica)

EAB exit holes (photo by Dr. Frank Hale, Univ of Tenn Extension Entomologist)

Across the U.S. and Canada, ash trees are dying from infestations of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an Asian insect pest. In many U.S. cities, ash (Fraxinus) is a major urban tree genus. Since 2002 EAB has become a serious pest that has killed more than 40 million ash trees in 18 states.

This hardwood tree is important to the timber industry. The wood is used in the manufacture of furniture, flooring, ship building, etal. All native species of ash are susceptible, including American ash (F. americana) and green ash (F. pennsylvanica).

Early detection of the pest in special traps can slow its spread and minimize the impact.  Some tree and landscape companies can perform trunk injections and soil treatments. In many states tree injections are done by ISA Certified professionals. In many cities property owners must decide to treat, remove or retain infested trees.

This invasive beetle lays eggs on the tree bark. The hatched larvae tunnel underneath the bark and will kill the tree within three years or less. Here are some guidelines to slow the rate of EAB infestation:

  • Don’t transport firewood from place to place, even within the state where you live. Don’t bring firewood along for camping. Instead, buy the wood from a local source.
  • Don’t buy or move firewood from outside the state. If someone comes to your door selling firewood, inquire about the source.
  • Watch for signs of infestation. If you suspect that your ash tree may be infested, visit your state website online or call a certified arborist, one certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
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