Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle from Asia that is devastating our native ash forests and urban plantings. The beetle is about ½ inch long and metallic green. The adult beetles are active from May through July. The females lay their eggs under the bark of ash trees. The larva hatch and feed in the cambium tissue, completely girdling the tree and killing it in about 2 to 4 years. Every native ash tree in America is susceptible, making this one of the most destructive species ever introduced. The first symptom of an emerald ash borer infection is dead and dying limbs at the top of the tree. More and more limbs will continue to die until the entire tree succumbs to the insect. It is important to note that the emerald ash borer is not yet present in Wichita as of 2020.
Ash trees have no immunity to this insect. Other species of trees should be considered for our landscapes since ashes will take considerable effect to maintain in the future. Luckily, this beetle can only fly about ½ a mile in a year, so it is only spread over long distances by humans moving firewood and nursery stock. To protect our ash trees, never move firewood from infected areas such as the Kansas City area. Ash trees can also be protected from borers by using a systemic insecticide such as Fertilome’s “Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench.” This will become a yearly necessary for valuable trees when the beetle reaches our area.