Extension Associate Mark Whitmore studies the Emerald Ash Borer. The Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), commonly referred to as “EAB”, is an invasive wood-boring beetle. Native to Asia, the beetle’s first North American populations were confirmed in the summer of 2002 in southeast Michigan and in Windsor, Ontario. EAB was likely introduced to the area in the mid-1990’s in ash wood used for shipping pallets and packing materials in cargo ships or shipping containers. Emerald Ash Borers feed on and eventually kill all native ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). Slowing their spread is imperative.
Since its introduction into North America, EAB has spread into 15 states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin) and two Canadian provinces; Ontario and Quebec. EAB was first confirmed in New York in June 2009 near Randolph, in western Cattaraugus County.
The natural spread of EAB infestations in North America is about 2 miles per year, depending on the infestation intensity. However, the rapid spread of the beetle through North America is most likely due to the transport of infested firewood, ash nursery stock, unprocessed ash logs, and other ash products. In an effort to slow the continued spread of EAB, both Federal and State agencies have instituted quarantines of infested areas to regulate the transport of ash products.