Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a small emerald green flying beetle about the size of a penny, has been devastating Ash trees in the northern part of the eastern half of the United States since 2007.
After being first detected in Orange County in 2011 on the grounds of the United States Military Academy, it has now spread to Warwick and its signs can be seen on numerous Ash trees throughout the town.
EAB is primarily attracted to only Ash trees, therefore only Ash species are prone to damage from this insect. The adult beetle finds the Ash trees, lays its eggs (40-70) and the larvae hatch from the eggs. The larvae then feed on tree just below the bark, cutting galleries back and forth which cuts off all nutrient and water flow from the leaves to the roots and kills the tree.
One visible sign that EAB is present on trees is the heighten presence of woodpeckers looking for these tasty treats.
The woodpeckers aggressively peck the bark causing large sections to peel and fall off the tree. This exposes the under part of the bark giving the trees a lighter tan color instead of the darker gray.
This process is called “blonding” and by the time this is happening it is usually too late to save the tree.
There are treatments that can be done to preserve specimen trees from EAB. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation certified pesticide applicators can inject live healthy trees with a systemic insecticide that works at killing EAB as it begins to feed on the tree.
In order to save trees, homeowners should identify if they have Ash trees, the contact a professional arborist that is educated and licensed in EAB treatments.
NYS DEC provides more info at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html
Matt Doiron is a Certified Master Arborist and a member of the Town of Warwick Shade Tree Commission.