If you have emerald ash borers in your region, your trees may be in danger. These little insects are notorious for boring into vulnerable trees – specifically, the emerald ash. Here are the common questions we are asked about the emerald ash borer, and whether or not you need to worry.
What Kind of Bug is the Emerald Ash Borer?
Emerald ash borers are beetles that feed on ash trees, and they look a little like an emerald grasshopper when grown. When these beetles lay their larva, they dig into the bark of the tree and start eating the inner wood. This can cause extensive damage to the tree! In Asia, where the EAB originated, some natural predators and conditions kept it from becoming too dangerous. In North America, however, the insects can do a lot of damage and eventually kill off entire groves of trees.
And It Only Affects Ash Trees?
Yes. It affects the emerald ash trees and all other “true” ash species. It will not affect other species like the mountain ash, which is not a real ash tree.
How Do I Know If I Have Any Ash Trees?
Ash trees are relatively easy to identify because of their unique leaf shapes. If your trees don’t have any leaves and haven’t been previously identified, then you may need to call out an expert to get them identified, because they can resemble maple and dogwood trees.
How Do I Know If I Have Ash Borers?
Emerald ash borers are always easy to see, but their larva can’t be seen at all with a casual inspection. However, there are signs that you should be looking for that could indicate a problem:
- Small holes in the outer bark. These holes may resemble D-like shapes and are a sign that larvae are at work. Note that these can be hard to see.
- The top of the tree had started to die off. This occurs when the ash borers are attacking the inner wood, and the tree is losing the capability to carry nutrients properly. This is a sign that your ash tree is dying.
- New leaves at the bottom of the tree. Likewise, new growth may appear at the bottom of trees. This indicates that the roots are trying to start new growth because the rest of the tree is dying off.
- Lots of woodpeckers. Maybe they know something you don’t!
What Sort of Treatment Options Do I Have?
Ash trees will need to be treated once a year during their useful lifetime, so you will need to decide whether removing the trees or treatment is the best option for your situation. However, there are common treatment options for the EAB, which are useful in different circumstances. Prevention pesticides can help ash trees that are not currently infected, while some sprays are used to target ash borers in a tree before they can spread. Other treatments use fertilizers to help keep ash trees strong so that they defend themselves more easily.
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