Emerald ash borers can be common tree pests if your property has ash trees, especially in the eastern United States. Emerald ash borer larvae are very destructive, and an infestation can spread fast. Therefore, knowing the early signs are the key to saving your trees and reducing the chance that an infestation will spread. Keep reading to learn more about emerald ash borers and how to spot the early signs of a problem.
What Are Emerald Ash Borers?
Emerald ash borers are recently-arrived invasive beetles that feed on ash trees. The adults generally eat the leaves but aren't considered very destructive. They are small, thin, and have a dark green metallic color.
The larvae feed on the vulnerable inside of the tree's bark. They have a voracious appetite that can disrupt the flow of nutrients and water throughout the tree. As a result, the tree will not be able to support its entire canopy.
What Are Early Signs of Emerald Ash Borers?
Because the larvae disrupt the tree's vital nutrients and water, one of the first signs of an infestation is a die-off or thinning of the crown. However, it may also indicate another type of pest or disease, so you will need to see this symptom combined with other symptoms. Sometimes, the tree may try to grow unusual-looking new branches in unusual places like on the trunk.
If you pulled off the bark on an infested tree, you would likely see a winding or weaving path through the wood underneath from the larvae feeding. Emerald ash borer larvae also make a unique D-shaped hole in the bark when they leave as adults. Infested trees also attract woodpeckers, so you could see woodpecker damage from the birds trying to get at the larvae.
What Should You Do If You Find Emerald Ash Borers?
If you suspect you have any pests, especially emerald ash borers, don't transport or move any firewood, branches, or leaves from your area. You might spread an infestation to an unaffected place. If your tree is still in good shape, you may be able to treat and save it. The tree could need repeated treatments in the future. However, a bad infestation will require total tree removal by someone experienced in infested tree removal.
Infestations can last long, but the more you wait, the more likely it is to spread. If your trees appear to be sickly or you see signs of pest activity, have an arborist or tree service company check for emerald ash borers. These experts can devise a treatment plan to save your tree and protect other ash trees on or near your property. For more information, contact a company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.