What are Emerald Ash Borers?
Emerald ash borers are invasive, bright metallic green insects that originate from Eastern Asia. The Emerald ash borer infestation began in Michigan in June 2002, when they were accidentally brought in packaging materials. They are about 1/2″ long with a flattened back and purple abdominal segments under their wing covers. An adult Emerald ash borer can be hard to spot and may be mistaken for a Japanese Beetle. The larvae, however, are what really do all the damage to the trees. These white, legless larvae tunnel deep into the trees during the late summer, fall and winter months. The tunneling by the larvae disrupts the flow of nutrients to ash tree leaves. Green, black, white, and blue ash tree are the most susceptible to the Emerald ash borer. Emerald ash borers kill young trees several years before reaching their seeding age of 10 years. The loss of ash trees from an ecosystem can result in increased numbers of invasive plants, changes in soil nutrients, and effects on species that feed on ash trees. While they are mainly hidden under the bark, there are warning signs to tell if a tree is infested.
Warning Signs of Emerald Ash Borer Infestation
Watch for foliage dieback on your trees. Canopy dieback begins at the top of the tree and works its way throughout the year until the tree is bare. Watch for increased visits of woodpeckers to your trees – they are digging for the larvae inside the bark. Next, if you see bark splitting or even worse, the Emerald Ash Borer’s signature tracking line marks in the bark of your trees, you probably have an infestation and need to work on a treatment option right away.
Emerald Ash Borer Prevention
First, know what the warning signs are and report any damage to your State Plant Health Director right away. Next, do not move firewood from one place to another. Although you can’t always spot it, the beetle may live in cut wood such as firewood. Moving firewood can spread the beetle, its larvae and its eggs to healthy trees. Burn your firewood where you buy it. Finally, protect your trees from harm and apply Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect to your trees every year. Even if they seem healthy, it’s better to protect them than risk a loss.
Emerald Ash Borer Treatment
If the warning signs of Emerald ash borer are caught early, you may be able to save your ash trees. Look for insecticide that targets Emerald ash borer and can prevent further infestations.
Woodpeckers & Nuthatches
Researchers also believe that woodpeckers and nuthatches, as native predators, can also control the Emerald ash borer population. These birds can alter their behavior to find their food source more efficiently, in this case the Emerald ash borer. These birds can help become the last line of defense against the Emerald Ash Borer.