The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a highly destructive, wood-boring insect that has threatened the nation’s ash trees, killing tens of millions of trees over the past 13 years.
The EAB is native to Asia and Eastern Russia; it is believed that the insect unintentionally arrived in the United States in the 1990s inside of wood packing material used to stabilize shipping crates.
The EAB was first discovered in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It has since spread to 24 states, entering into Iowa in 2010. Within two to four years, the Emerald Ash Borer will reach Council Bluffs – without intervention, it will potentially destroy hundreds of public ash trees.
How It Spreads
The EAB can fly, but its range is limited to approximately three to five miles per year. The widest spread infestation in the United States has been accomplished through man-made means, particularly through the movement of firewood.
The EAB can live for up to two years. During the life cycle, a female may lay more than 100 eggs. She disperses eggs on tree bark along portions of the trunk and major branches.
Larvae hatch from the eggs after two weeks, chewing through outer layers of bark and feeding on the tree’s inner bark as they grow.
Once the larvae transform into pupae, they emerge, headfirst through a distinctive 1/8-inch to 1/6-inch, D-shaped hole.
Adult EABs live approximately 20 days. They feed lightly on ash leaves, but not enough to cause real damage.