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The Invasive Emerald Ash Borer of Minnesota: Wrecking Havoc on Minnesota’s Ash Trees

emerald ash borer

Trees are usually imagined as the broad, strong guardians of your neighborhood. They’re known for withstanding storms, wind, and all other kinds of destruction that nature routinely throws at them. Even if it can withstand a pummeling from the outside world though, there are many things that they’re vulnerable to, such as the emerald ash borer.

This is a small beetle that originates from Asia, and it’s barely bigger than the size of a penny. Don’t let its size fool you, though; they can wreak terrible devastation throughout your neighborhood. Their entire existence is designed around finding ways to exploit vulnerabilities in trees’ biologies.

Worse, it’s impossible to save the tree once symptoms of an emerald ash borer start appearing. All you can do is try to prevent an infestation in the first place. And to do that, you need to do your research on these aggressive pests.

Keep reading below to learn more about the emerald ash borer, and how you can protect your trees from them.

The Emerald Ash Borer Comes from Asia

Emerald ash borers originate from Asia and were accidentally introduced to North America in 2002. Since then, they devastated millions of ash trees through several states. Their spread has mostly been contained to many of the Western states, although they have managed to find small footholds in Oregon.

In Minnesota, the outbreak of emerald ash borers centered around major cities such as Minneapolis. The strongest outbreaks are found along the state’s eastern border, in areas surrounding Rochester and Lakeville. And for the people in these areas, all they can do is stay on the lookout for borers to protect their own trees.

Keep reading below to learn more about what you should look for when on the lookout against emerald ash borers.

They’re the Small, Oval, Beetle Menis of Minnesota Trees

Borers are most identifiable by their distinguishable, green sheen. The colors that adorn their tiny bodies are almost luminescent and usually glimmer with the smallest amount of light. The fact that they’re green isn’t the only distinguishable thing about them, though.

They’re also distinctly ovaline and can be thought of as relatively long. Although they may never grow to more than the size of a penny, they look like glimmering, green slivers. In a way, they almost resemble grasshoppers without the long legs to the back of them.

They’re mostly found in areas with a dense amount of ash trees. They spend most of their lives in those trees, and will rarely journey too far away from them. So, if you’re in the middle of a city or are away from most ash trees, try not to mistake a grasshopper for an emerald ash borer.

Yet, if you’re in an area with a bunch of trees, make sure not mistake emerald ash borers for grasshoppers. Otherwise, you may inadvertently allow many of the trees in your neighborhood to fall victim to infestations.

Borers Burrow Into Trees to Feed Their Young

Emerald ash borers aren’t technically the thing that you should be worried about when it comes to protecting your trees. Instead, you should be worried about the young that are raised within the bark. When an emerald ash borer grows enough, it will find a tree to lay its eggs in.

Then, the young will grow and develop within your tree. As they grow, they will devour it from within, stealing the nutrient-rich waters within its bark. The beetles basically strangle the tree as they eat through the tissues that nutrients travel through, among other things.

It’s a slow death for your tree, but the death is certain. Since emerald ash borers don’t travel too high up when they first penetrate into the tree, there’s no way to deal with the infestation without killing the tree. You would have to cut the tree down to stop the infestation at its source.

Most of the Borer Lifecycle is Spent Beneath the Bark

Once a tree is infested, it’s tough to save it. Part of the reason is because of where the beetles first enter the tree. The other reason has to do with the emerald ash beetle’s one-or-two-year life cycle. Most of that time is spent inside its home tree.

Towards the end of its life, larvae leave the tree and can fly around 1/2 mile in search of a new home. Most of the time, they spend the spring developing from their larval stages until they venture out of the tree as the Autumn begins.

This is the time when new outbreaks may appear, and it’s the time when you should be extra vigilant for new infestations.

Lookout For Holes in Your Neighborhood Trees

There are many symptoms you need to look for to protect your trees. The first and usually the most obvious sign is a series of small ‘D’ shaped holes found along a tree. These are made as adult emerald ash borers leave the tree after they’ve already done their damage.

Yet, that’s not the only sign. There are other, more subtle signals that a tree may be stressed due to an emerald ash borer infestation.

There are Several Signs of an Infestation

The most prominent secondary symptom is a wilted upper-tree. The top half of a tree may appear to die unexpectedly, yet the rest of the tree may appear fine. This comes as a result of the being unable to transport nutrients up its bark, due to larva eating away the conductive tissue.

You should also look out for ‘S’ shaped markings along the tree, made as a result of the larva spreading within the bark. These markings aren’t always immediately noticeable. You may need to peel away some of the outer bark to see them.

Once you notice symptoms, it’s already too late. All you can do is make sure not to harvest any wood from the tree since that would contribute to the borer’s spread. Just call a professional about it, and make sure to follow any quarantine procedures that may be active in your area.

Contact Professionals for Emerald Ash Borer Infestations

Once you notice an emerald ash borer infestation, there’s very little you can do. The pests can spread through chopped wood, so you can’t even harvest firewood from your ash tree. Unfortunately, all you can do is contact a professional for an evaluation of what your options are. Most of the time, all you can do is remove the tree.

We understand the frustration of finding an infestation in your trees and are here to help. Contact us if you suspect your tree may be infested with emerald ash borers, and we’ll advise you on what to do next.

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