How Does Emerald Ash Borer Kill Trees on Your Property?

Whenever business owners and residents want to eliminate an invasive species from their yards and gardens, they contact Bristol’s tree service company, GM 2 Tree Services. We rank as the number one arboriculture and landscaping business in our service areas, with a growing roster of satisfied clients who now enjoy properties free of infected trees. A mating adult beetle can multiply by the thousands in one season, leading many customers to ask questions like “How does emerald ash borer kill trees?”

In this article, our licensed arborists will explain how the emerald ash borer preys on trees before killing them. We will also outline your remediation options if you find them on your tree or yard. For more information about invasive animals and insect pests, call our tree care experts and schedule a free inspection.

What Is an Emerald Ash Borer?

The emerald ash borer is among the most prevalent tree-boring insects in America and beyond, with their population rapidly surging in areas like Minnesota since 2002. According to forestry research, the EAB targets ash trees exclusively with a 100% kill rate. If you find an emerald ash borer in your tree, arborists will recommend removal and immediate disposal to prevent it from creating another host tree.

Let’s review a few tree species vulnerable to the EAB:

  • Black ash, which can grow well in wet and cold climates in the northeastern United States
  • Green ash, the most widespread ash species in North America
  • White ash, which is among the tallest ash trees catastrophically endangered by the EAB
  • Pumpkin ash, a species so highly targeted by the EAB that experts now recommend against planting it

Some non-native ash species, like the manna ash, Gregg’s ash, and European ash, are less attractive to the EAB. Scientists still don’t understand the reasons behind this behavior.

How Does Emerald Ash Borer Kill Trees?

Adult emerald ash borers create tunnels inside trees to lay eggs, which develop into larvae. These larvae tunnel further into the vascular tissues of trees. They sustain themselves by sapping nutrients and eating materials trees use to move sugars, moisture, and nutrients up and down the trunk.

Infested trees lose the ability to photosynthesize efficiently and source nutrients from the soil. When EAB larvae develop into adults, they fly to nearby trees, killing entire ash populations in neighborhoods, forest lands, and cities.

Signs of an Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

Whenever customers ask, “How does emerald ash borer kill trees?” they almost always request information about the signs of an infestation. Mature EABs only measure 3/8 to ½ inches long, making them challenging to spot under the foliage. However, you can watch out for a few things if you suspect an infestation.

  • The woodpecker is the only natural predator of the EAB. A few wasp species in North Carolina attack them, but only as a defensive measure. Watch out for woodpecker damage on tree bark.
  • EAB larvae cause rapid canopy thinning and leaf loss on the sides.
  • Adult EABs leave D-shaped holes outside a tree, while larvae create S-shaped galleries.

How To Eliminate Emerald Ash Borers

Most trees infested by EABs die after a few months. Rescue treatments, such as emamectin benzoate, azadirachtin, imidacloprid, and dinotefuran, have a 50/50 chance of working in infested trees. We recommend pest-proofing your trees before EABs can lay eggs inside them.

Work With Tree Pest Experts

Still looking up terms like “How does emerald ash borer kill trees” and “What are the signs to cut down a tree?” Find the answers by contacting a professional tree care company today. Call GM 2 Tree Services at (860) 940-5783 for a free consultation.