Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is a non-native invasive beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan in the summer of 2002. Adult EAB consume ash leaves but cause little damage. It is their larvae that cause damage, feeding on the inner bark of ash trees and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients within the tree.
Since its discovery, EAB have killed tens of millions of ash trees throughout the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Damage from EAB has cost property owners, municipalities, nurseries and the forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
Native to Asia
Likely came to U.S. in wood packing material
Infests only true ash trees (Fraxinus spp.)
Adult beetles are metallic green, 1/2 inch long, 1/8 inch wide
Adults make D-shaped exit hole in bark upon emergence
Adults emerge May through July
Adult lifespan is two to three weeks
Eggs are laid in bark crevices of ash trees
Eggs hatch in seven to 10 days
Larvae tunnel under bark, creating S-shaped tunnels (galleries)
Larval galleries cut off flow of water and nutrients to the tree
Larvae overwinter in chambers within the sapwood of ash trees
Larval galleries are the eventual cause of ash tree death
Heavy woodpecker damage on ash trees can be a sign of infestation
What we are doing
Our forestry crews monitor sites for signs of infestation and make determinations on treatment options or tree removal. Learn more »
Damaged ash trees that pose a risk to public safety or property are removed. Avariety of native tree species are planted in place of ash trees that are removed in landscaped areas.
We are currently participating in a biological control study on the effects of parasitic wasps.
What you can do
Familiarize yourself with the proper identification of ash trees and EAB. Learn more »
Monitor the health of local ash trees for dying branches at the top of the tree, known as crown dieback. Removal should be considered where damaged ash trees pose a risk to human safety or property. It is possible to treat ash trees that have not yet been infested. Contact local arborists for assistance with these determinations.
Transport of firewood remains a problem. Purchase firewood locally from a known source. Do not move any ash firewood or logs outside of a quarantined area. Be sure to use your firewood in the cold months so no EAB survive until spring.
Impact from EAB is now visibly apparent throughout the Chicago area. Tree removal is widespread due to damage from this forest pest. We recommend planting a variety of native tree species in place of ash trees that are removed in landscaped areas. Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, keeps our air and water clean, regulates our climate, and protects against devastating losses when invasive species, such as EAB, arrive in our local ecosystems.
Lake County Nature Blog
Connect with seasonal nature observations on our Nature Blog »
Find further information about identifying species, living with wildlife and other natural resource topics.
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