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The Emerald Ash Borer, Beauty or Beast?

This iridescent metallic green beauty was first discovered in the Detroit area in 2002. Wooden packing materials are suspected to have been his preferred mode of transportation. The fact that they are smaller than a dime made it easy for them to hide within the wood products used to protect goods shipped overseas from China.

The Emerald Ash Borer has proven to be disastrous to Ash tree populations in the US and Canada. Despite their small stature (typically ½ inch long and 1/8 inch wide), they are quite capable of destroying ash trees thousands of times larger.

Adult females lay their eggs shortly after emerging in mid-to-late July, earlier if the weather becomes unseasonably warm. The eggs are extremely small (about 1/25th of an inch), reddish-brown in color and further develop into white larvae which are segmented and flat-headed. The larvae bore into the Ash trees, feeding under the bark and disrupting the tree's ability to transport the necessary water and nutrients throughout. You’ll often find their tracks visible underneath the bark of an affected tree. When this happens, the tree dies back and its bark begins to split.

It is estimated that tens of millions of Ash trees have been destroyed throughout the USA and Canada. Michigan alone has lost an estimated 40 million trees. The symptoms of the EAB are: thinning or dying of ash tree crowns, suckers at the base of the tree, splitting bark, tunneling under the bark, D-shaped exit holes, and woodpecker activity. Young trees die within one to two years after infestation and larger ones can live up to four years.

If you should notice symptoms of EAB infestation you should:

  • Call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512
  • Contact your local Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (find contact info at USDA’s website HERE)
  • Buy your firewood from local sources and burn it where you buy it.
  • DO NOT move firewood from your property or across state lines.
  • Always buy kiln dried firewood.
  • Burn your leftover firewood before spring to eliminate the chance of infecting nearby live trees.

Want to find out if the Emerald Ash Borer has been spotted in your area?  Visit to view a current list of confirmed sightings.

The Arbor Day Foundation
image: By Benjamin Smith from United States (Agrilus planipennis - Emerald Ash Borer)
Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

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