The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a shiny green beetle native to Asia. It was first detected near Detroit in 2002. The EAB infests and kills ash trees. Almost all infested trees die within three to five years. 99% of ash trees die within 10 to 15 years from the start of the infestation.
How to Identify Ash Trees:
- Compound leaves (composed of five to 11 leaflets)
- Opposite branching (directly across from each other, not staggered)
- Seeds hang in clusters (dry, oar-shaped “helicopters”)
- Ash bark is smooth on young trees, and ridged on mature trees
- Black ash bark is greyish, flaky and corky
- Adult emerald ash borers lay eggs on the bark of ash trees
- Larvae tunnel under the bark and feed between the bark and the sapwood
- As they feed, grow and develop into adults, larvae travel in an s-shape pattern, cutting off the nutrient flow and killing the tree.
- Adults emerge from the ash trees in June, chewing a D-shaped exit hole. They feed on leaves, mate, lay eggs, and the cycle starts again.
The emerald ash borer flies in search of ash trees but also spreads via the movement of infested wood. EAB can be present in a tree for up to three years before signs of infestation are noticeable. Signs of infestation include:
- Crown dieback (thinning leaves and dead branches near the top of the tree)
- Epicormic shoots (suckers growing on the trunk – a sign the tree is stressed)
- Woodpecker damage (beige patches on bark)
- S-shaped galleries when the bark is peeled back
- D-shaped exit holes
Unfortunately, EAB is present in Kahnawà:ke. Ash trees are very common in Kahnawà:ke so the impacts of the emerald ash borer will be significant in our community. Impacts include environmental, aesthetic, economic and cultural, as well as safety concerns from dying and falling ash trees.
The EAB infestation is of particular concern to basket makers. The black ash has the unique characteristic of being easily split along its annual growth rings which can be made into splints for weaving. The white ash is used to make basket rims and handles. The loss of our ash trees will have enormous impacts on this important traditional art form.
Responses to EAB:
EAB cannot be eradicated at this time but there is some promising research in this area. The two most common responses at this time are to cut ash trees and replant with other species, or attempt to save the tree by treating it with an insecticide called TreeAzin (made from an extract of the neem tree seeds). There are costs associated with cutting, disposal and replanting, as well as with treatment since it must be continued for the duration of the infestation.
KEPO has been monitoring the EAB infestation via sticky traps, carrying out inventories of our ash trees, recording signs of infestations, and planting other species of trees to minimize the environmental impacts from the loss of tree cover in the community. KEPO is currently developing a management plan to address the issue proactively, minimize impacts, and develop partnerships and actions to save the species for the future generations.
How to Help:
- Learn to identify ash trees and signs of infestation. Report suspected EAB infestations to KEPO at (450) 635-0600.
- Do not move firewood. A single piece of infested firewood can destroy millions of trees!
- Plant other tree species to replace the ash trees that will die. It is not advisable to plant ash trees at this time since they will also be at risk of infestation of EAB.
- Contact KEPO for advice if you wish to treat any ash trees on your property. We can provide you with contact information of companies who can assist.