Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that cause harm to the environment, economy and even human health. The Adirondack region has an opportunity to prevent invasive species from widely spreading. We need your help to identify invasive species, report sightings and use best management practices to control their spread.
Who am I?
Emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green insect introduced from Asia that is responsible for killing more than 50 million ash trees in the U.S.
(Image courtesy Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)
The larvae of emerald ash borer tunnel under the bark, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients and killing the tree in two to four years.
(Image courtesy of Michigan Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org)
Intense woodpecker activity and extensive damage to the bark of ash trees is a clue to look for when searching for emerald ash borer.
(Photo courtesy of Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)
I am emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis).
Why am I a problem?
I infest ash trees in forests and landscape plantings by tunneling under the bark, preventing the trees from transporting water and nutrients, and quickly killing them in just two to four years. I already have killed more than 50 million ash trees in the U.S.
Where did I come from?
I hitched a ride on ash crating or pallets from Asia to Michigan in 2002.
What do I look like?
I have a golden-green body, 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch long and 1/6 of an inch wide, with dark, metallic green wings and a purplish-red abdomen.
Where do I live?
I infest all ages and all variety of living ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) as well as horticultural varieties of these species.
How do I spread?
Each female produces an estimated 50 to 100 eggs. Larvae tunnel into and feed on the tree. Adults emerge in late May through early August, when leaf feeding and mating occurs. I quickly spread by flying, but I also get free rides to new forests when people transport firewood greater than 50 miles.
How do you get rid of me?
Unfortunately, since I have spread to more than 20 states, I am here to stay, but you can slow my spread. Use firewood local to the area you are visiting. Landowners can learn more about control options online at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html.
Who looks like me?
I look like many native insects, such as the bronze birch borer and metallic wood borer. Always confirm identification. Place suspicious insects in a container in the freezer, then send a photograph or sample to your County Cornell Cooperative Extension office.
What can landowners do?
Learn to identify ash trees and look for signs and symptoms of EAB, which include small, D-shaped exit holes in bark; splitting bark; serpentine larval galleries under bark; a thinning canopy; and increased woodpecker activity and extensive damage. Report sightings to your regional Department of Environmental Conservation office.
For more information, log onto www.adkinvasives.com or call the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program at 518-576-2082.
Eye on Invasives is a seasonal, biweekly column that spotlights a top invader when it is easiest to identify. Hilary Smith directs the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, a partnership program housed at the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley. Find out more about this award-winning program online at www.adkinvasives.com.