Ed Golson Outdoor Education

emerald ash borer

( Invasive Species )    

Scientific Name: Agrilus planipennis

Order: Coleoptera

Description:  The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect native to Asia.  It was first noticed in Detroit, Michigan in 2002 and it probably arrived from the transport of wood packing crates brought here by a ship or airplane.  This insect is only about a half an inch long and one sixteenth of an inch wide when it has reached adulthood.  This adult is a dark metallic green color and is only present from mid May to late July. The larvae are about 2-3 cm long and are a creamy white color and are found under the bark of trees.  These insects bore into trees and exit through the bark leaving a D shape in it.  When the bark is removed, S shaped canals are seen all through the trunk. 

Habitat:  The habitat of these insects is strictly ash trees.  They can not live in anything else.  In Michigan, they are an invasive species and they live in the white, green, and black ash trees.  They do not attack mountain ash because they are not related to the white, green, or black ash trees.
What's the problem?  The emerald ash borer is an invasive species in Michigan and they are killing off many species of ash trees.  The larvae feed off the bark, therefore, no water or nutrients can be brought to the rest of the tree.  Unfortunately these pesky critters are hard to catch because no one knows the insects are there until the tree shows signs of infestation.  As a matter of fact, 8-10 million ash trees have died due to this insect.  The biggest sign of infestation is the death of the top third of the tree.  The rest dies the next year.

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