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What's Your Question About EAB? We Have an Answer...
Emerald ash borer tends to have what we call the NIMBY syndrome -- “I don’t have to think about it because it’s Not In My Back Yard.”
But oh boy, when it is found in someone’s back yard or woodlot, the dynamic changes. Google comes alive with searches for “emerald ash” “EAB” “ash borer” “ash trees” and the like. Where did this bug come from? What can I do to get rid of it? Is it too late to save my ash trees? Will this bug get into my other trees? Can I use the wood from the dead ash trees? What kinds of trees should I plant now? Who do I call?
Fortunately, there are answers to these questions and more on this website. From maps that pinpoint where EAB has been found in North America to how to tell if EAB is in your ash tree, knowledgeable experts from all over North America provide reliable, timely information.
We’ve made it even easier for users to find answers with our Inquiry page. I answer questions, comments and suggestions posted on this page. If I can’t find the answers from information currently on the website, I’ll find an expert who can.
The posts on the Inquiry page provide me with perspective on the effect this pest is having on our natural world. Sometimes users provide me with information they feel will be beneficial in the ongoing EAB control and management research. Others will tell me stories about their experiences dealing with EAB. There are numerous requests for outreach materials that educate others. Media are often looking for experts to talk to, and images of EAB and its destruction of ash trees. Inquiries come from all over the world, which points to affect this pest has had on an international scale.
Here are a few of the most common inquiries and frequently asked questions:
Sometimes It’s About the Money
- “I have a dead ash tree [or trees] on my property. Is there money available from the government/city/state that I can get to remove them?”
- Most state and federal agencies don’t have funding available to remove ash trees from property owners’ yards or woodlots. Occasionally there are special funds available from local governmental agencies or organizations to help, so you could start by contacting your municipality’s office and ask.
- “Our neighbor had to cut down some dead ash trees in his yard, and he offered us some of the wood. Can we use it for firewood, or will the EAB escape and infest other trees in the neighborhood? It would be nice not to have to buy firewood, but we don’t want to be responsible for more dead trees!”
- First, let me thank you for your concern for not spreading EAB around the neighborhood. Second, you can lay your fears to rest, because EAB does not infest dead ash trees. The beetle feeds on the live tissues, called phloem, under the bark. If the tree is dead there isn’t any food for EAB larvae.
- “I have some ash trees on my property, and I think they might have EAB. I’m not sure what I should do about it, or if it’s worth it. Any help is appreciated!”
Is This EAB? What Does an Ash Tree Look Like?
- “I think I’ve found EAB in my basement. There were some green bugs near the washer, I think they came through the casement windows.”
- It’s highly unlikely EAB beetles would choose to live in a basement (unless there is a live ash tree growing there), but there are other insects that resemble EAB, like the ones found on this The Don’t be Fooled by Look-Alikes bulletin.
- “The woodpeckers are pecking the trees in my backyard. I think a couple of them are ash trees. Does this mean all my trees have EAB?”
- Ash trees are EAB’s favorite food source. Research has proven it rarely infests other tree species. Woodpeckers enjoy eating EAB larvae and are a good indicator that EAB is in an ash tree. This Educate Activate Beware document created by the Des Moines (IA) Dept of Public Works gives a good overview of what to look for.
- “Does the insecticide used to control EAB hurt bees?"
- Check out this document, which discusses potential side effects of insecticide use.
Who Can I Talk to in My Area?
- “Is there someone who can look at my trees and tell me what to do?"
- Reputable tree care companies, urban foresters and arborists can help. Calling your county Extension office (found in most states) is also a good first step. For more information about what’s going on with EAB in your state, check out the Information for Homeowners page, or type the name of your state into the “Search” function on the upper left side of the website for a list of resources in your area.
Now that EAB is in 35 states and five Canadian provinces, it’s not so much a question of whether it’s in your back yard, but if you are prepared for it when it comes.
And that’s why we’re here!
Robin Usborne, EAB Communications Coordinator
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
February 4, 2020