Signs of the Emerald Ash Borer & What To Do About It

emerald ash borer

The Emerald Ash Borer, a tiny insect with a big appetite, delves deep into tree bark, cutting off essential nutrients. This often results in once-healthy ash trees fading and perishing. For anyone with these trees in their gardens, recognizing the signs of their presence is crucial. Being able to identify these unwelcome visitors early on helps in taking timely action to curb their impact.

General Symptoms of an Emerald Ash Borer Affecting The Tree:

Before we dive deeper into some specific signs of an infestation, it’s worth noting that ash trees can show other symptoms when under stress, which might not necessarily indicate an infestation. While this may not directly correlate to the ash borer, keep an eye out for a tree that has:

  1. Canopy Thinning: If the top portion of your ash tree seems sparser than usual, it might be an early sign of distress.
  2. Branch Dieback: Dead branches, especially in the upper regions of the tree, could be a cause for concern.
  3. Suckering: Notice new shoots emerging from the tree’s base or roots? This could be the tree’s response to the stress of an infestation.

Distinctive Signs of an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation:

While the signs mentioned above can contribute to the signs of their existence, there are some specific things to keep an eye out for on the trunk. Here are some specific signs of the ash borer.

  • “D” Shaped Exit Holes: Borer larvae, once mature, exit the bark, leaving behind a distinctive D-shaped hole. These are usually about 1/8 inch in diameter.
  • “S” Shaped Galleries: If you peel back a section of the bark, you might find serpentine tunnels or galleries where the larvae have been feeding.

emerald ash borer

  • Bark Splitting: The outer bark might split in places, revealing S-shaped galleries underneath.
  • Woodpecker Damage: Woodpeckers love ash borer larvae! If you notice them frequently pecking at your ash tree, they might be dining on these pests!
  • Epicormic Sprouts: It might produce new sprouts along the trunk and branches.

Emerald Ash Borer Egg Identification:

Emerald ash borer eggs are tiny, measuring about 1 mm in diameter. They are creamy white to light yellow when first laid. As they mature, they might take on a slightly brownish hue. The eggs are somewhat flattened and oval. Due to their minuscule size and color, they can be challenging to spot against the bark of ash trees, especially when laid in crevices or under loose bark.

Final Thoughts: Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer may be small, but its impact on ash trees can be big. Early detection is your best defense against this invasive pest. If you notice any of the abovementioned signs, consider consulting with an arborist or local tree service to explore what can be done to mitigate their damage.

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