Protect Dane County’s Ash Trees: Emerald Ash Borer Invasion

August 5th, 2015

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has invaded Michigan, Ohio and many other states, and is now making its way into Wisconsin. The invasive beetle has been confirmed in Madison, placing a huge danger on our ash trees in the area. Luckily, Wisconsin and specifically Dane County are acting quickly to prevent EAB from spreading.

Here are frequently asked questions about the beetle:

Where did the emerald ash borer come from?

EAB were first discovered in eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea. Prior to June of 2002, it had never been found in North America.

What types of trees does the emerald ash borer attack?

In North America, EAB has only been found in ash trees. Specifically, trees in woodlots and landscaped areas are most susceptible to the beetle’s invasion.

Where has it been found?

The first sighting of EAB was in six counties in southeastern Michigan in June of 2002. Since then, the ability to detect and find EAB has improved greatly; however, now it is found in Michigan, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.

What happens to the infested ash trees?

The first sign of an EAB infestation is thinning of the tree’s canopy above infested portions of the trunk and major branches. The reason for this is because EAB destroys the water and nutrient conducting tissues underneath the bark. Heavily infested trees show the back of the canopy dying, usually starting at the top of the tree. In a year’s time, one-third to one-half of the branches may die, and after two years, most of the canopy will be dead. If you look close enough, you can see that the adult beetles leave a “D”-shaped exit hole in the bark when they emerge in June.

What do emerald ash borers look like?

Adult beetles are a dark metallic green color, about ½ inch-long and 1/8 inch wide.EABadultsideview

How is the pest spread?

While it’s known that EAB adults can fly at least ½ mile from the initial tree, many infestations are started when people moved infested ash nursery trees, logs or firewood into uninfested areas.

How big of a problem is EAB?

EAB is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. State and federal agencies are making this problem a priority, but it’s also up to us all to get educated on the EAB problem in order to protect our beloved ash trees!

Luckily, Dane County is taking the necessary steps to prepare for this invasive beetle’s arrival. Dane County’s EAB and Wood Utilization Strategic Management Plan works to reduce the environmental impacts of the EAB within the county, mitigate the potential economic and social costs and find ways to put wood formerly considered “waste” to positive use.

Here is a list of ways to protect ash trees in your area:

The more knowledgeable you are on the EAB invasion, the better likelihood Dane County and the state of Wisconsin can prepare and prevent the beetle from destroying our ash trees.

Stay educated and stay informed to keep our state’s natural resources alive and thriving!