The Emerald Ash Borer (better known as the EAB) is an exotic beetle that was first discovered near Detroit, Michigan but quickly spread across the United States and into Canada. These beetles have ruined thousands of trees and completely decimated wooded areas in our state.
These beetles feed on the inner bark of ash trees, which prevent the trees from getting the nutrients that they need. It also makes the passage of water nearly impossible, which means that the tree dehydrates over time.
The goal is to eradicate it, but we haven’t been able to do that just yet. Instead, right now we are trying to simply keep the pest at bay. Thankfully, there have been some advancements in taking care of the problem.
A Bit of History
- Originally from Asia
- Now found in 35 states and Canada
- Millions of ash trees have died
It is believed that the Emerald Ash Borer came into the United States on a cargo ship and started to wreak havoc almost immediately. It is natively from Asia, but it is now found in 35 states, and Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba, according to the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network.
Since the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer, millions of ash trees have been killed all over North America, there have been enforced quarantines and fines in place for those who transport potentially infested ash trees, logs, and hardwood.
It has also decimated nurseries, forests, and parks.
Emerald Ash Borer Management
- Early detection is the best
- Some trees do need to be removed
- Sometimes you have to sacrifice one tree to save another
As we get to know these pests more, there have been some updates to the way that they are managed. It is important to know that if the pest comes into contact with an ash tree, it will kill it if there isn’t insecticide on it. Dead and dying ash trees need to be removed as quickly as possible. Simply ignoring the problem isn’t a chance.
When you weigh the pros and cons of removing your tree, you should know that it may be possible to make your tree healthy again, but any tree that has lost 30% or more of its canopy needs to be taken down. It is an unfortunate reality to help save other trees from facing the same fate.
Tree Location Matters
- Focus on clusters of trees
- Spray all trees, not just a few
- These pests spread quickly
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources suggests looking at tree location to determine whether or not a tree should be saved. It is more likely that trees clumped closer together will have a harder time eliminating the problem – these pests spread quite quickly and can infect multiple trees in just a short time.
If you have a wide cluster of trees, ensure that you protect each one of them. Remember that those who protect their trees from the EAB will usually spend less money than those that don’t.
EAB Treatment: Insecticide
- Getting better all the time
- Can now treat trees that are already infected
- We all have to work together
Of course, the most common treatment for the emerald ash borer is to use insecticide. Now, this has been the treatment for the last few years, the options have grown as professionals learn more about control. In fact, it was only after a few years that insecticides were proven to be successful on trees that were already infected, and we are getting better at spotting those trees that will respond to treatment so that we aren’t putting chemicals into the environment when they won’t do anything.
This is a group effort and not something that only a few people can do. Tree care companies have worked together from the start to try to combat this pest. If you see something, say something. We are rapidly losing trees that are precious and the problem continues to spread with no end in sight. At the same time, there are new species threatening other trees in parts of the United States (such as the Lantern fly) – the better we get at handling these problems now, the better we will be into the future.
Wasp Treatments For EAB
- Wasps can kill EAB
- Difficult to find
- Slowly introducing them into ecosystem
There have been some recent developments in how to treat the EAB outbreak. According to Purdue, biological control might be the best defense that we have, “Three species of small, stingless wasps are being used to control EAB throughout Indiana and the US. These wasps kill large percentages of EAB in their native range in Asia. All wasps have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they will not attack native insects. It is unlikely that these wasps alone will eradicate EAB, but they help protect ash trees growing from seedlings in the forest. Although more wasps are reared every year, they are only given to professionals for release to ensure that they have the best chance for success.”
These wasps likely do have some side effects as well, so using them requires a practiced hand and only certain people will have access to them moving forward.
Do You Think You Have An EAB Problem?
Contact Menchhofer Tree Care for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down – and of course, any seasonal problems that you might have with your trees. If you are having trouble making decisions about how to best care for your tree, we are here to help. Remember that acting sooner rather than later will help you to get the most out of your trees and keep your home safe.
Most importantly, we can help you with any problems related to the Emerald Ash Borer. If you even think that you have a problem with this pest, it is best to get help as soon as possible.
Call us today at 317-661-4240.
Header photo courtesy of guano on Flickr!