The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is an evasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. They are fast-moving and highly destructive. This beetle was first discovered in Georgia and twenty other states in 2002. Infestations in the United States and Canada have killed tens of millions of ash trees since then. Emerald ash borer beetles have metallic, bright green outer wings with a coppery red, or purplish colored abdomen when its wings are exposed. They measure about an inch in length and 1/8 inch wide. The female beetles lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. When the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the bark, feed and develop which will cut off the flow of nutrients and eventually kill the tree. The eggs are very small, 1/25 of an inch and are reddish-brown in color. The larvae are white and flat and will grow to an inch in length.
Signs of an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation
Leaves that are yellowing and browning in the upper third of trees are a sign of emerald ash borer beetle infestations. The trees will die three to five years after being infested with smaller trees dying within one to two years after being infested. These beetles will attack both healthy and distressed trees. S-shaped larval galleries in the wood under the bark are another sign. These galleries will be packed with frass, a mixture of sawdust and the excrement of larvae. D-shaped exit holes in the tree bark also indicate emerald ash borer beetles. These holes will be about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and are caused by the adults as they bore out when leaving the infested tree. The tree bark may have cracks where the larvae have tunneled and if you notice more woodpeckers in the area, it may be due to emerald ash borers being a source of food. These beetles will overwinter under the tree bark and enter the pupal stage in the spring.
How to Prevent Emerald Ash Borers
It’s a challenge to prevent and control wood destroying insects that live under tree bark and the approach needs to be an integrated one.
1. Identification. You should get a hold of a pest control company if your suspect emerald ash borers to identify and provide advice and service.
2. Don’t move firewood from your property to other areas. Burn leftover wood before spring starts to eliminate any chances of these pests getting into healthy trees. Infested firewood is the biggest source of new infestations and the spread of them.
3. Search tree nursery inventory to make sure you’re not buying ash trees that are already infested.
4. Insecticides can provide effective ash borer control. Insecticides need to be applied at the right time and in the right way. The label needs to be followed and always contact pest control professionals before you start doing it yourself.
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Most Native American ash trees have little or no natural resistance to this pest. Unless trees are taken care of the right way, the infested trees have a near 100 percent death. Negative effects of emerald ash borer infestations will not stop when the tree dies because the dead tree needs to be removed. Contact Milam’s Tree Service for all your tree service needs.