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Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Emerald ash borer is also established in Windsor, Ontario, was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois and Maryland in 2006, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2007, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia in the summer of 2008, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky in the spring of 2009, Iowa in the spring of 2010, Tennessee in the summer of 2010, Connecticut, Kansas, and Massachusetts in the summer of 2012, New Hampshire in the spring of 2013, North Carolina and Georgia in the summer of 2013, and Colorado in the fall of 2013.

Since its discovery, EAB has:

  • Killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

  • Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.

  • Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.

What to Know about EAB:

  • It attacks only ash trees (Fraxinus spp.).

  • Adult Beetles are metallic green and about 1/2-inch long.

  • Adults leave a D-shaped exit hole in the bark when they emerge in spring.

  • Woodpeckers like EAB larvae; heavy woodpecker damage on ash trees may be a sign of infestation.

  • Firewood cannot be moved in may areas because of EAB quarantine.

  • It probably came from Asia in wood packing material.

What's being done?

  • Research is being conducted at universities, to understand the beetle's life cycle and find ways to detect new infestations, control EAb adults and larvae, and contain the infestation.

  • Quarantines are in place to prevent infested ash firewood, logs or nursery trees from being transported and starting new infestations.