Q. What is the emerald ash borer?
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a small (half-inch-long) shiny green beetle (Agrilus planipennis) that infects ash trees. It is an extremely destructive pest which has destroyed millions of trees in the U.S. It affects all species of ash (Fraxinus) but no other trees. The damage is mainly caused by the larvae of the beetle, which tunnel into the living tissue of the tree and deprive it of nutrients. Infected trees can be recognized by the appearance of small (3-4 mm), D-shaped holes in the bark of the tree. If the bark has fallen away, the serpentine tunnels made by the insect will be visible.
The insect was first detected in the U.S. in southeastern Michigan, near Detroit, in 2002. It has now spread to most states east of the Mississippi. Although it is present in New York State it has not yet been detected in New York City.
What can the homeowner do about EAB? The most important action is to be aware of the problem and to be on the lookout for infections. First, know how to identify ash trees and the beetle. If you suspect that the beetle has invaded your trees, the proper authorities should be notified. In New York State you can call the DEC EAP hotline, 866-640-0652. Also see Cornell Cooperative Extension's information page on the beetle. There is also an EAB website dedicated solely to the beetle. In some states the movement of potentially infected logs and timber is restricted. In May 2015 New York State created 14 restricted zones and forbids moving ash products out of these quarantined areas. See the state’s EAB Regulations and Quarantines for details.
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- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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