What is Emerald Ash Borer?
Click the image to download the Emerald Ash Borer fact sheet
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a metallic green insect native to Asia. EAB was first discovered in 2002 near the port cities of Detriot, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario and continues to spread into the surrounding states. Locally, this insect was first detected in Illinois in 2006 and it has now been detected in Iowa.
The adult beetle is approximately 1/2 in long and 1/8 in wide. EAB adults emerge from infested ash trees via D-shaped holes. EAB larvae feed under the bark of ash trees. They leave serpentine shaped markings and damage the tree’s ability to transport nutrients and water.
EAB have killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The removal of dead ash trees have cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
Purple traps such as the one at right are being hung throughout the midwest to help detect and monitor the Emerald Ash Borer’s movement. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture along with many universities have been hard at work discovering the basic biology of this borer, but research was very limited before 2002. Additional research such as preventative products, natural insect predators, and trapping techniques are ongoing.
Trees Forever Recommendations and Tips
For Community Leaders and City Staff
- Set up an internal team to research how other communities of similar size are handling Emerald Ash Borer, what the Iowa EAB Team recommends, and outline a draft plan with a deadline for completion. To get started see “Suggestions for EAB Community Preparation” on the Trees Forever website.
- City staff should not feel that they have to do this in a vacuum! Involve a local stakeholder advisory group to review options and provide input to a draft plan-this group would represent stakeholders who care about trees and have a stake in their management, i.e. local tree committee members, neighborhood leaders, a nursery expert, utility representatives, law enforcement, a representative form local schools, concerned citizens and volunteers, and organizations like Trees Forever that help plant and care for trees or work on community beautification.
- With the stakeholder advisory group, the city develops and implements a communications plan to let citizens know how EAB will be addressed, including removals and replacements.
- Do your best to get a 100% inventory of all trees on city property; if you can’t afford a 100% inventory then start with street trees or a sample/partial inventory which can give you an estimate of ash trees.
- Trees Forever doesn’t recommend removing healthy ash trees at this time. City experts need to be very careful to use consistent recognized protocols on what constitutes a diseased or hazardous tree.
- Continue to plant a diverse mix of appropriate trees before ash are removed and as replacements after ash are removed. ( We suggest only planting 10% of any one species and 20% of any genus)
Tips for Homeowners
- Don’t panic.
- Identify the ash trees on your property.
- Stay abreast of treatment information. There is no cure, only prevention.
- If EAB is within 15 miles, consider treatment of ash trees.
- Do not treat ash trees if EAB has not been found within 15 miles. You would most likely be wasting time and money.
- Most important - diversity! To prevent a future problem such as EAB, plant a diverse mix of trees and plants.