The emerald ash borer, commonly referred to as simply EAB, is a metallic-green beetle that was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. While they are harmless to humans, they feed on the inside bark of ash trees, which ultimately leads to them dying. Native from Asia, is it proposed that EABs made their way into the US via cargo ships and airplanes by harboring in solid-wood packing materials. The beetles can currently be found in 31 states, including Connecticut, and parts of Canada.
Why would you want to do that, you ask? The emerald ash borer is known for destroying the circulatory system of North American species of ash trees. While in its larvae state, the EAB creates tunnels under the bark to gain access and destroy the tree, its food source. Since it was discovered, the EAB has been responsible for killing millions of ash trees, costing municipalities and property owners millions of dollars. The damage is so extensive that the USDA has strict quarantine guidelines in place with hefty fines if not followed.
If you have an ash tree on your property, you may be wondering if you have an infestation. There are a few signs you can look out for that may indicate an infestation. These include thinning in the upper portion of the tree, sprouts forming along the trunk, and split bark. However, these symptoms can indicate any kind of distress and may not necessarily be due to the EAB. More unique indications include D-shaped exit holes on the tree’s bark that are about 3/16-inch wide. You may also notice S-shaped tunnels and/or the larvae (up to 1.5-inches long and cream colored) underneath the bark. And, of course, if you see the EAB itself (bright metallic green and about 3/8-inch in length), then your tree is infested.
Unless you have a confirmed infestation, or you are located within 15 miles of a confirmed EAB site, then insect control for the EAB is not necessary. However, you can always employ our insect control in CT to treat your property for many other types of pests, including ticks, ants, cockroaches, and more.
In order to stop the emerald ash borer, another insect’s help is necessary in the equation. The smoky-winged beetle bandit, a native non-stinging wasp, preys on beetles. By monitoring the nests of these wasps for the beetles they capture, we are able to determine areas in which the EAB is located. The beetles are collected and identified before they are taken to the nest by the wasps. This process of using the smoky-winged beetle bandit’s behavior to assess the presence of the EAB is called biosurveillance.
The discovery of the EAB’s presence in Connecticut in 2012 came thanks to this wasp watching. This method of finding more EABs is also being used in 20 other states where there are beetle bandit wasp colonies. You can volunteer to become a wasp watcher by attending training and being assigned a colony near your home. Monitoring occurs during sunny afternoons in July, and collected beetles are then mailed into the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at the end of the summer.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help eliminate the EABs, or you suspect you have EAB infestation, give us a call, or contact the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) directly.