Borer Bane

Borer Bane

Affliction Appearance

The emerald ash borer beetle (Agrilus planipennis or EAB) is an exotic pest first discovered first in Detroit in 2002. It is thought that the borers arrived in the United States in solid wood packing on shipping containers from Asia. Since its initial discovery populations have been found in 20 additional states and in Ontario, Canada. EAB is real threat to ash trees, regulations and quarantines, developed and implemented by the USDA, are in place but all species of native ash trees are susceptible and the possibility that shade trees, lumber and woodlot trees may be lost still remains.  

Pernicious Pest

Research is being conducted at several universities to more fully understand the life cycle of the emerald ash borer, find new methods for detection, control and containment. Quarantines are in place to prevent spread through movement of firewood, logs or nursery stock. While adult beetles cause minimal damage with their leaf nibbling, larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees inhibiting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. To date millions of trees have been killed and have cost property owners, municipalities, nursery owners and wood product industries tens of millions of dollars.

eab larvae

Adults, like the one in the featured image, are approximately 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long, with metallic green wing covers and a reddish purple abdomen. They are most common in June in July. EAB larvae are difficult to distinguish from other native species of the same genus, however, abdominal segments of EAB are distinctly trapezoidal with the final segment being bell shaped.


Larvae live in the interior bark and boring through the wood and disrupting the translocation of water and movement of nutrients. Exit holes are distinctly “D” shaped.














How to Help

Learning to identify EAB, signs of infestation and reporting it to your state’s environmental conservation department is the number one way to assist in controlling the destruction. Check their website for helpful forms and contact information. Other things to keep in mind include not moving firewood; “Buy local, burn local”, other regulated material that shouldn’t be moved interstate include; nursery stock, wood debris and lumber, inspect your trees and report signs or symptoms immediately. Check for quarantine zones in your area, if you are within or near a quarantine zone plant only non-host species and allow authorized workers access to your property for inspection, monitoring and installation of insect traps.