What is the emerald ash borer?
The emerald ash borer is an invasive, boring beetle from northeast Asia that has killed millions of ash trees since its introduction to the United States in the early 2000s. They are roughly 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide and metallic emerald-green with a cylndrical body. Females can lay up to 100 eggs. Emerald ash borer causes severe environmental damage, including destroying habitat by changing forest and riparian zone diversity, increases fire risk from dead trees, and results in high economic costs related to insecticide treatments and the removal/replacement of dead trees.
Where are emerald ash borers?
As of August, 2016, over 25 states have detected emerald ash borer infestations. It was discovered in traps deployed in northeastern Texas in early 2016. Click here for the current distribution map.
Emerald ash borer hides here
The emerald ash borer is not always visible as the adults are small enough to fit on the head of a penny. The larvae burrow under the bark and through the wood, often going unseen until the ash tree begins to die. Because larvae and pupae can survive for long periods even in cut wood, a primary way to ensure that you don't spread emerald ash borers is to not move firewood from areas with a known infestation, particularly across state lines.
1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide, metallic emerald green in coloration. Can be distinguished from other similar boring beetles by the disinctive reddish top surface of their abdomen (under the wings). Females lay 50-100 eggs in bark crevices. (Photo: David Cappaert [top], Howard Russell, both Bugwood.org)
As the emerald ash borer larvae feed, the canopy leaves die from the top down. The feeding larvae also trigger new branches and shoots on trunk and branches. (Photo: Daniel Herms, Bugwood.org)
Larvae burow into the phloem (under the bark) and sapwood, creating S-shaped galeries under the bark and blocking nutrient flow. This eventually kills the tree. (Photo: James W. Smith, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)
More facts about emerald ash borer
Check out the emerald ash borer profile in the Invasive Insects Database for more information on the biology, history, habitat, distribution and management of this invasive species.
Emerald ash borer hurts us all
Since introduction, emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees across the United States and threatened millions more. Once an area is infested, the cost to remove infested trees is significantly high.
- Emerald ash larvae feed on the phloem and outer sapwood that lies under the bark, making them invisible. They disrupt the nutrients in the tree and this eventually leads to the tree's death, and concern for public safety.
- The cost of dead tree removal and pesticide treatments can be devastating to homeowners and municipalities.
- Emerald ash borer infestations lead to a loss in forest and riparian diversity, which can impact native animal and plant communities.
- Emerald ash borer infestations can negatively affect property values, plant and lumber industries, and campgrounds, and cause increases in electrical costs.
Transporting Firewood can be illegal
Because the emerald ash borer can "hide" in cut cut wood, Texas advocates burning firewood where you buy or cut it. As a general rule, do not move firewood or other wood products from one county to another. Due to existing threats from other invasive species like fire ants, parts of Texas and the southern United States are already under quarantine, making it illegal to transport firewood out of known infested areas or across state lines.
You can help!
Report a sighting
We need your help to stop the spread of emerald ash borer! Please report any new sightings of dead or dying ash trees or the beetles themselves, and if possible, take a picture of the ash tree or borer and record its GPS location.
Get involved in saving ash trees
Assist officials in identifying the location of ash trees so that they can be monitored. Join the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlflower Center in collecting ash tree lcoations, so that ash seeds can be collected and banked for safe keeping.
Spread the word
not emerald ash borers
The Texas A&M Forest Service has developed this public awareness campaign to stop the spread of emerald ash borers and the devastating threat they pose to our state's forest ecosystems, private property and timber industry. This campaign is made possible by a coalition of partners, including:
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services
- Texas A&M Forest Service
- Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council
- Texas Invasive Species Coordinating Committee
- Texas Invasive Species Institute
- Texas Department of Agriculture
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board
- Texas Water Development Board
- USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine
- USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection