Emerald Ash Borer Research: A Decade of Progress on an Expanding Pest Problem

By: U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Review, Summer 2013

Newtown Square, PA (Summer 2013) — Beautiful, shady neighborhoods all over the Midwest and the Northeast are bare of their ash trees, cut down because of the emerald ash borer (EAB). The rapidly spreading EAB infestation has also set off a storm of scientific investigation into the ecological and social damage and the costs to affected communities.

Since it was first detected in 2002 around Detroit and neighboring parts of Ontario, EAB has spread to 18 states, from Kansas City to Minneapolis/St. Paul in the Midwest, south to the Smoky Mountains National Park, and all the way north to New Hampshire and Montreal, Quebec. Since its arrival, EAB has been able to attack and kill all native species of North American ashes (genus Fraxinus) that it has encountered.

Much of the long-distance spread of EAB is due to human activities—people moving infested firewood and nursery trees out of quarantined areas. Early eradication efforts consisted of cutting and chopping or burning infested wood and prevention efforts focused on quarantines, developing detection and treatment methods for individual trees and education efforts such as the “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign. Knowledge about the EAB and how to control it, or at least slow its spread, continues to drive efforts to save ash.

Entomologists from the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station (NRS) laboratory in East Lansing, MI, and other NRS scientists from Delaware, OH, are in the forefront of EAB research (along with their Michigan State and Ohio State University partners). Their efforts have involved studying many aspects of EAB biology and control—basic behavior, reactions to pesticides, detecting the larvae in logs and trees, and traps for detecting adult beetles.

Get the report on the expanding information and technology that have contributed to control efforts and slowing the spread of the beetle: "Emerald Ash Borer Research: A Decade of Progress on an Expanding Pest Problem" was released by the U.S. Forest Service this summer (2013).

And check out the training video below on identifying the Emerald Ash Borer just released from The Nature Conservancy as part of training videos for five (5) pests that are applicable to their Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative. These will soon be available on phone apps on the EDDMAPS platform.  Here’s their video on the Asian Longhorned Beetle.