Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)


WARNING: The Emerald ash borer or EAB is a troublesome pest that's been heading this way for a bit over a decade.  It's not in Charlotte yet, but most likely will be at some point over the next few years...or even months. Heartwood has been keeping an eye on the situation for a while now and has put together this page to provide information about the pest, it's signs and symptoms, spread, and treatments.  We'll be updating this page on a regular basis as things change and we learn more.  


What is EAB and where did it come from?

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planiepennis, is an exotic pest native to Asia and Eastern Russia.  It was first detected in the United States in 2002 in the Great Lakes Region and has been slowly spreading ever since.  It’s a bit smaller than a penny and shiny emerald green.  

What trees does it effect?

As the name states, ash trees are their primary host plant.  There’s been some research and observations over the last year or two that indicate that another few species might be affected, but ash trees are the concern at this point.


Is it here in Charlotte Yet?

Technically, there is no physical evidence of the EAB in Mecklenburg County yet, but it will be over the next few years.  It spreads both through natural means and with some help from man (transporting fire logs and lumber is now illegal due to the quick spread of EAB this way).  The pest has been found in a couple of counties in north central North Carolina and it’s established in Tennessee so it’s only a matter of time. Denver, NC has had devastating effects from the EAB which is only 30 miles out of the Queen City. This means there is a very good chance the EAB is already among us.

What can be done?

We have the benefit of 10 years of trial and error trying to control this pest in other parts of the country.  We have a good handle on how to help trees withstand the EAB storm when it comes.  Treating your trees with an insecticide PREVENTATIVELY is the best way to protect them.  There are several different ways we can look to apply the needed product depending on the location of the tree, time of year, and a few other factors.  


What if I do nothing?

It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. It takes only 2 years for the beetles to kill a tree; by the times it's noticed, it's too late. You have two options: either treat your Ash for protection or plan on paying to have it removed. Removal must be done by using aerial lifts because the tree becomes too dangerous to climb. We highly suggest using the prevantative treatments so we can avoid losing an important piece of our canopy. There are now entire sections of Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan with no ash trees!


What are the signs to look out for?

EAB generally attacks the top of the tree first and then moves down the trunk.  In the top of the tree generally we are looking for large dead sections poking out of the top and an increase in bird activity (especially woodpeckers- they loove EAB).  In addition there could also be an increased number of smaller shoots coming off different places on the trunk.  The telltale sign for EAB is a small D-Shaped exit hole from the pest in the bark.  The hole is very distinct from those that other pests make.


Should I be treating now?

 Yes! If you have an ash tree that you love or care for now is the time to get a protection plan in place. EAB is knocking at Charlotte's door!!!


Helpful EAB Links:

US Forest Service

National EAB Information Site


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