Emerald Ash Borer
The Emerald Ash Borer Threatens Ohio Trees
What is Emerald Ash Borer?
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an ash tree-killing insect from Asia that was unintentionally introduced to southeastern Michigan several years ago. In February of 2003, it was first found feeding on ash trees in northwest Ohio. EAB affects all species of native ash found in Ohio. EAB larvae feed on the living portion of the tree, directly beneath the bark. This eating habit restricts the trees ability to move essential water and nutrients throughout. In three to five years, even the healthiest tree is unable to survive this attack.
This pest can be difficult to identify because the symptoms infested ash trees exhibit are much like the symptoms of a native ash borers. The main symptoms of an EAB infested tree are branch die back, sprouting around the base of the tree, and unusual woodpecker activity. While the symptoms of EAB are like native ash borers the signs are very unique. The main signs are 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes and if the bark is peeled back, a serpentine pattern packed with sawdust will be seen.
In Ohio, EAB is currently found in Auglaize, Delaware, Defiance, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Miami, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, Wood and Wyandot Counties. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has issued quarantines in portions of all of these counties, which restricts the movement of all ash logs, nursery stock, branches, chips, and all non-coniferous firewood out of the areas. ODA is focused on containing and slowing the spread of the pest through survey and regulation, and will only attempt eradication of outlier infestations.
The impact of EAB is being felt both environmentally and economically. Approximately one in every ten trees in Ohio is an ash, and is a very important part of the forest type ash-elm-cottonwood, which covers parts of northwest Ohio. The loss of this species will create a large void in an already fragile ecosystem.
The potential economic impact of EAB to Ohio citizens over the next ten years could possibly reach $3 billion. This amount includes the estimated impact on property owners having to remove damaged/dead trees from their yards (about $1 billion), and from the loss of ash as a managed species for Ohio’s forest industry (about $2 billion). That figure does not include the incalculable value of ash as an important ecological component of Ohio’s diverse hardwood forest.
For more information you can go online or contact ODNR Division of Forestry at 1-877-247-8733.