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The Emerald Ash Borer

A new predator is killing millions of ash trees including those located in the Upstate of South Carolina. The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive Asian beetle brought into the United States through wood packing material surrounding imported Asian products. The first confirmed sighting was in Detroit back in 2002. Detected in both North Carolina and Georgia in 2013, the beetle was confirmed here in the Upstate in 2017, making it the 31st state to have Emerald Ash Borer infestations. “Since Emerald Ash Borer is known to fly from March to November, it is very likely that we will discover more during the end-of-year trap check and may very well discover it in additional counties,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson’s Department of Plant Industry.

This bark boring beetle is bright metallic green with metallic purple abdominal sections, hidden beneath its wing covers. Emerald Ash Borers dig through a tree’s bark to feed on the delicate tissue underneath, disrupting the tree’s nutrient system by interfering with the transportation of nourishment to the photosynthesizing leaves.

Some of the first signs of a problem include canopy dieback, bark splitting and increased woodpecker activity as the beetle has “softened” the bark, making it easier for a woodpecker to do its job. Leaving a distinctive D-shaped exit hole, the beetles as they feed, crisscross the grain of the tree creating large tunnels. Once a tree has become infested, it takes between two to four years to die.

The Emerald Ash Borer invades new areas through infested wood such as the shipping of firewood and nursery stock. In October 2017 a statewide emergency quarantine of ash wood products and hardwood firewood was put into place in order to attempt to control the spread of this destructive insect.

Concerned about your ash trees? Call Out on a Limb Tree Service today at 864-320-8787 for a free evaluation.

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