Five Common Questions about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Wilmington

Emerald Ash Borer in WilmingtonAn invasive insect species has made its way to America, and is causing significant damage to the nation’s forests. Already discovered in 27 states previously, the Emerald Ash Borer has now been confirmed in Delaware. 

Certified Arborists in Wilmington, and across the country, are deeply concerned about the rapid spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB), so we at Stein Tree Service have put together a small FAQ to let people know about this new insect threat.

Five FAQs About the Emerald Ash Borer in Wilmington

  1. What is the emerald ash borer?

The EAB is a small species beetle, initially native to Asia, but accidentally brought to America sometime in the late 1990s. The insect is about the length of a dime, and notable for its extremely brilliant metallic green shell and wings.  

EABs lay their eggs beneath the bark of ash trees, which hatch into larvae that quickly begin consuming the flesh of the tree beneath. When ready to grow into full-size beetles, they make their way to the exterior of the tree before mating and laying more eggs. EAB can spread quite quickly. 

  1. Why should I care about the EAB?

In one sense, Delaware is lucky:  we have relatively few ash trees, only around 2% of the population. However, if you own any ashes – or white fringe trees – you absolutely should care because EABs can be deadly to any American ash species.

  1. How does the EAB spread?

Like many infesting insects, emerald ash borer spreads via firewood, timber, or transplanted saplings. One of the sea venues likely brought them to America in the first place. The insect also have wings and are capable of migrating under their own power.  

  1. How do I spot signs of EAB infestation?

An infestation can take a long time to show visible signs. Here are the main indicators to look for:

  • Unexplained die-off on the upper canopy
  • Small tufted shoots on the trunk, called epicormic branching
  • Distinctive D-shaped holes left by emerging larvae
  • Vertical bark splits
  • Excessive woodpecker damage, from woodpeckers eating larvae
  1. How can my trees be saved if they have EABs?

Left untreated, EABs will eventually be fatal to an ash or white fringe. If more than 30-40% of the tree’s canopy is already gone, chances are the tree is too damaged to survive. Otherwise, it can be possible to save the tree. Sustained usage of pesticides is the normal course of action, and advance use of treatment may prevent an infestation.

Call Wilmington’s Stein Tree Service for Professional Tree Care and Emerald Ash Borer Concerns

Stein Tree Service has been providing skilled care of trees in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland for over 30 years. If you believe you have seen emerald ash borer damage in Wilmington, contact one of our certified arborists immediately to discuss your options.