The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in an invasive insect originating from Asia. It was first discovered in North America in the Detroit and Windsor area in 2002. The insect infects and kills ash trees. Since its introduction in 2002, it has spread throughout much of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and parts of Manitoba. EAB is also present in nearly all US states east of Colorado. EAB has caused the death of tens of millions of trees in North America.
The pest was first discovered in southern Simcoe County in 2013. By 2018, the insect was widespread throughout much of Simcoe County.
What does it do?
The larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer feed on the living tissue below the bark of an ash tree called the cambium. These feeding galleries disrupt the flow of nutrients and water within the tree causing crown die back, epicormic shoots, peeling bark and death in as little as 1-2 years. The insect attacks and kills ash trees of all sizes and ages. It kills 99% of trees which it infects.
Pest Biology and Identification
The Emerald Ash borer is a wood boring beetle that is 8-14mm long (5/16" to 9/16 "). It is bright metallic green with a coppery-reddish or purple colour to the abdomen.
Adult beetles emerge from under the bark of ash trees from May to August. After emergence the adults feed for approximately one week then commence mating. A female then lays 40-70 very small eggs in a crevice or fold in the bark of an ash tree. The eggs hatch within 2 weeks and the new larvae bore into the tree where they feed on the cambium (living tissue underneath the bark). The larvae feed under the bark producing serpentine or S-shaped feeding galleries until fall. They then excavate a chamber in the bark or sapwood where they overwinter. The larvae then pupate and emerge as adults the following spring by burrowing out of the tree and through the bark, leaving a distinct D-shaped exit hole.
Privately Owned Trees: What Can I do?
Most landowners will have two choices when considering the future of an Ash tree. The tree can be given protection against the insect by treating with an insecticide. Otherwise most trees not protected will eventually die. It is the responsibility landowners to manage trees on their own property.
There are several products available to treat ash trees and increase survival. TreeAzin is injected by a
licensed applicator into the base of the tree on a 1 or 2 year cycle and can provide protection against tree mortality from the insect. The pesticide is only effective on trees that are not yet infected or at early stages of infection from EAB. Treating trees with an insecticide may be a financially sound option for landowners considering values including aesthetics, home heating and cooling, land values and privacy.
If trees are not treated to protect against the insect they can die fast and become hazardous. If you think your tree is infected or would like to have it removed contact a tree care professional to discuss treatment or removal options. Pre-emptive removals of trees that will die from EAB can be safer and more economical than the removal of dead trees that are not structurally sound.
See the links below for further information:
How do I identify an ash tree?
Signs a tree is infested
List of Certified Arborists
Hiring a Tree Care Professional
Woodlot Owners or Landowners of Larger Properties
Owners or managers of privately owned woodlands and larger properties containing ash trees are encouraged to contact a forestry professional. There are options to mitigating damages and reduce financial and ecological losses.
Preparing for Emerald Ash Borer - A Landowners Guide
Finding a Forestry Professional
Regulation and Disposal of Ash Materials
Since the confirmation of Emerald Ash Borer within the County of Simcoe, the area has come under ministerial orders from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding the movement of certain woody materials.
There are prohibitions and regulations restricting the movement of nursery stock, trees, logs, lumber, leaves, bark chips and wood chips of all ash species and regulations that restrict the movement of ALL firewood species.
Regulated materials may not be moved out of a regulated area into a non-regulated area without a movement certificate issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Why should I buy and burn firewood locally?
Emerald Ash Borer Regulated Area
What is The County of Simcoe Doing?
The County of Simcoe owns and manages over 33,000 acres of forest. Since the mid 2000's forest managers have monitored the progression of EAB throughout Ontario. When it became apparent that the insect would eventually spread into Simcoe County, forest management activities were modified to mitigate the loss of this tree species from the Simcoe County Forest landscape.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had monitored for the pest in Simcoe County from the mid 2000's until 2013. Once the pest was found in Simcoe in 2013, the county became regulated for the pest and the CFIA no longer monitored its spread in Simcoe County. In 2014, the county began its own program to monitor the spread of the insect and provide information to local municipalities and residents. Monitoring continued until 2017 when EAB was found to be widespread throughout the county.
A strategic plan was prepared and approved by council in 2014 to provide information and options for Emerald Ash Borer Management to County and Municipal staff and to provide information for residents.
The Transportation and Engineering department is responsible for the maintenance of County Roads. A preliminary survey of roadside hazardous ash trees has been completed and removals of hazardous trees are being completed as required.
A Strategic Plan to Manage the Emerald Ash Borer in Simcoe County