If your home sits nestled among tall ash trees, you likely reap many environmental and economic benefits -- from lower utility bills to insulation from road noise. However, a single invasive insect could be the catalyst for an emerald ash borer infestation that could damage or even kill your trees over a brief period of time. How can you tell whether your trees are in danger? What can you do to eradicate these pests and maintain the health of your ash trees? Read on to learn more about your best defensive options against the emerald ash borer.
Why is the emerald ash borer such a problem in North America?
The emerald ash borer is native to eastern Asia, particularly Russia and China, where tree density is fairly low compared to much of the United States. Because these beetles have a short range, they tend to cluster on a single tree, helping keep colonies at manageable levels while maintaining the health of surrounding trees.
However, in the denser forests of North America, a single colony of ash borers can start a chain reaction that spreads to all the ash trees in a large radius. As a result, many of the infected trees in areas with high ash density will be quarantined or immediately removed to help prevent further infestation.
What are the signs of an ash borer infestation?
Ash borers slowly kill trees by boring into the wood just below the bark, preventing the tree from efficiently siphoning water and nutrients from the soil. While a single ash beetle or two shouldn't cause any problem to a large tree, a sapling can be especially susceptible to ash borer damage at an early age. As the tree grows, the chasms created by the boring beetles will widen, compromising the tree's ability to reach its full height.
The most telltale sign of an ash borer infestation is the squiggling lines created by the beetles in the surface of the wood. However, unless a section of bark is already missing from your tree, this can be difficult to spot without causing damage.
Dead or dying leaves near the top of your tree can indicate the roots and trunk aren't able to carry enough water to sustain growth. You may also notice odd growth patterns, like new shoots and branches sprouting low on the tree's trunk. This is often a sign that the tree is trying to expand beneath the larvae line.
Can you get rid of these insects without causing further harm to your trees?
Unfortunately, the most effective way to rid your trees of emerald ash borers is slightly invasive and may cause damage over time (albeit significantly less damage than the beetles and their larvae). There are several types of insecticides that are effective at eliminating ash borer larvae, killing off the colony within a single generation. These pesticides are usually injected directly into your tree's trunk or roots to provide long-term protection and ensure that all ash borers are fully eliminated. However, performing this treatment every few years for the rest of your tree's life can cause structural damage and impede your tree's ability to grow or utilize nutrients.
If you suspect your trees are suffering from a borer infestation, it's important to act quickly. If the majority of your trees are ash trees, you may need to quickly remove the tree or trees with the most severe infestations and prophylactically treat your remaining ash trees to prevent these beetles from migrating. Because most of the common insecticides can provide up to 3 years of protection, you should be able to eliminate your ash borer infestation without requiring frequent follow-up injections of insecticide that could damage your tree. You may also want to consider calling a pest control specialist to see if they offer any services for exterior pest problems.Share
29 January 2016
How often do you double check your front door or make sure that your garage door is closed? Although installing a home security system and giving your children instructions about stranger danger might seem like second nature, some people forget that there are real safety threats sitting around their windowsills. My child was bitten by a poisonous spider a few years ago, and ever since then, I have worked to increase awareness about the importance of pest control. A little pesticide can keep dangerous bugs from seeking refuge in your home and threatening your family. My website discusses different ways to keep your kids safe.