Emerald Ash Borer: What Is It & How Can You Spot It?

The Emerald Ash Borer is a fairly new pest to North America, posing a serious threat to all ash trees. Native to China and East Asia, they are believed to have entered the Detroit area in 2002 on wooden packing materials from China.

Adult Emerald Ash Borers are bright metallic-green beetles about ½” long and ⅛” wide.

They lay their extremely small, reddish-brown eggs in crevices in the bark of ash trees. When they hatch, the flat-headed, cream-colored Emerald Ash Borer larvae start feeding just below the bark, creating S-shaped tunnels and disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.

Larvae can take up to two years to become adults.

You may eventually see adult emerald ash borers if you have an infestation, but by that point it is likely too late.

You may be able to catch the problem earlier if you know what to look for.

The signs of an ash borer infestations are:

    • Thinning or dying crowns: The crown of a tree consists of the branches and foliage growing out from the trunk. If you notice a change in the amount of leaves, or decaying branches, it is a sign that there is a problem with your tree.
    • Epicormic shoots at base of tree: Also called suckers, these shoots grow out of the base of a tree when it is under stress.
    • Splitting of bark or S-shaped tunneling underneath: The tunnels created by Emeral Ash Borer larvae can cause the bark to split, indicating a problem.
    • D-shaped exit holes: When an adult Emerald Ash Borer exits a tree, it chews a D-shaped exit hole, specific to the class of beetle it belongs to.
    • Woodpecker activity: Woodpeckers feed on ash borer larvae. If you notice an increase in woodpecker activity, it could mean that larvae are present.

Time & crew required

It is true that many tree removal companies tend to be less busy in the winter and, therefore, you may get a better deal by scheduling your removal during this time, it’s best to consult with a tree removal company for an estimate before deciding whether or not to wait.

If you think you have an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, it is important not to remove infected trees, firewood, branches, or ash chips from the affected area, as Emerald Ash Borer is easily transported.

When it comes to treating an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, it is best to enlist the help of a professional. Insecticides have to be applied very carefully. Pesticides can be applied to the soil around the tree, sprayed on the bark, or injected into the trunk in specific dilutions.

There may be certain regulations and limitations as to how to deal with an infestation in your area, and a local arborist will be up to date on all methods.

Because Emerald Ash Borers are a fast-growing problem in the U.S., infestation cases are reported to keep track of location.

If you are unsure about the health of your ash or other trees, trust the professionals at Appalachian Tree Co. Inc.! Our arborists specialize in identifying and treating a variety of tree diseases and pest problems. If your tree needs to be removed, we will do so safely and efficiently to protect the rest of your property. Contact us today!