How to check your trees for emerald ash borer

In Entomology Today

by Anand Persad, PhD

Urban treescapes are under attack. Seven billion ash trees, the dominant species of urban American canopies, are at risk of being destroyed by the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) if not treated.

Since its first detection in Michigan in 2002, EAB has spread to 25 states and killed more than 50 million trees. Already, entire cityscapes have been destroyed. In a review published last year, scientists called it “the most destructive and economically costly forest insect to ever invade North America.”

Known for its metallic green wing color, EAB is hard to see with the untrained eye. Even more difficult to detect are the larvae that burrow into the bark and feed on tissue, eventually starving and killing the trees. Signs of infestation include thinning and yellowing leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark, and canopy and bark loss.

Scientists are working to find ways to stop the beetle. It’s been proven that efforts to save trees can be improved by identifying infested trees in their first year. Host trees are still healthy upon initial colonization.

Based on our research, early detection of EAB is critical to managing this invasive species and saving billions of ash trees. Traditional detection methods through sampling and debarking are extremely labor intensive. Monitoring through deployed traps is not sensitive enough to detect initial EAB populations.

Read the rest of the story in Entomology Today.


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