Controlling Emerald Ash Borers to Protect Ash Trees

What Is This Insect?

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect devastating one of the county’s most valuable woodland and landscape trees. Originally from Asia, the EAB was first discovered in the Detroit area in 2002. It is believed to have entered the country on wood packing materials from China. The bright, metallic-green adult beetle can be smaller than a dime, but is capable of taking down ash trees thousands of times its size. Adults are typically ½ inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Eggs are extremely small – approximately 1/25 inch – and are reddish-brown in color. Larvae are white, flat-headed borers, or grubs, with distinct segmentation.


Signs Of Infestation

Adults usually emerge in mid- to late-May, earlier if the weather is warm. Emerging adults create D-shaped exit holes in the tree. Females lay their eggs on tree branches shortly thereafter (after mating first, of course). EAB larvae bore into the ash tree and feed under the bark, leaving tracks visible underneath. The feeding disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Small trees can die in as quickly as one to two years, while larger infested trees may die in three to four years.

Signs Of EAB Infestation Include:

  • Thinning or dying of tree crowns
  • Suckers at the base of the tree
  • Splitting bark
  • Tunneling under the bark
  • D-shaped exit holes
  • Increased woodpecker activity

The negative effects of EAB infestations do not end with the death of the tree. Often, tree services must be hired to remove the dead tree, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.


A Threat To Ash Trees, And It’s Spreading Fast

EAB has destroyed 40 million ash trees in Michigan alone, and tens of millions throughout other states and Canada. Ash trees are one of the most valuable North American woodland trees (estimates of total number of ash trees in the U.S range between 7 and 9 billion) and widely used in landscapes. The wood is used to make baseball bats, furniture, tool handles, electric guitars and even drums.


Where Is EAB Found?

It’s currently found in the Midwestern and Eastern United States, along with parts Canada. Quarantines restricting movement of plants and firewood are in place in all or parts of: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.


You Can Help Stop The Spread

Homeowners are on the front lines of this important battle. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you should do the following to help manage this pest:

  • Don’t move firewood from your property or carry it across state lines.
  • Buy firewood from local sources and burn it where you buy it.
  • Buy kiln-dried firewood.
  • Before spring, burn your remaining firewood supply to eliminate the chance of EAB spreading to live trees.
  • Homeowners can protect ash trees against EAB with the systemic insecticide imidacloprid, applied to the soil at the base of the tree. It is most effective when applied in spring but can also be applied in fall. It is less effective on trees over 50 inches in circumference. Follow label instructions carefully.

BioAdvanced 12 Month Tree Protect & Feed II Concentrates kill EAB and protect your trees up to 1 year. If using 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed** (NY Formula), you can choose from either Concentrates or Granules to kill EAB. No matter which product you choose, there’s no spraying, and you’ll get systemic protection from the roots to the tip of every leaf.


What To Do If You Think You Have EAB

If you have ash trees, inspect them for signs of EAB, especially in early summer. Look for symptoms of an EAB infestation. If you think you’ve found EAB in your ash trees:

  • Call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or your local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office.
  • Record the area where you found the insect, and take photos of the insect and any damage.
  • Find contact information for your local APHIS office at the USDA’s Stop the Beetle campaign website,


Other Resources

For more information on Emerald Ash Borer, visit


*Not for sale in CA, CT, ME, MD, NY & VT.

**Not for sale, sale into, distribution and or use in Nassau, Suffolk, Kings and Queens counties of NY. Reclassified as restricted use in CT & MD.