5 Signs That Emerald Ash Borers May Be In Your Neighborhood

Emerald ash borers can kill an ash tree quickly, and there is little you can do once the pests find your tree. Knowing the signs of an infestation can help you monitor your neighborhood for these pests.

1. Increased Woodpecker Activity

Woodpeckers love to feast upon emerald ash borer larvae. When trees are infected, the woodpecker population tends to go up due to the presence of such an easy food source. A few woodpeckers in the neighborhood aren't cause for concern, but if you notice that there seems to be a lot more woodpecker activity than in years past, then ash borers may have made their way into your area.

2. Sprouting Trunks

When a tree suffers stress, it will try to put on rapid new growth to make up for the areas that are dying off. On ash trees, this most often occurs on the lower half of the trunk. Whip-like sucker stems will sprout from around the base of the tree and along the lower half of the trunk. These suckers tend to put on weak foliage quite quickly. If you notice sprouting on the trunks of neighboring trees, you need to take steps to protect your ashes before the pests invade them.

3. Crown Die-Off

As the larvae of the ash borer dig into the tree trunk, the system that transports nutrients and water between roots and the leafy crown will begin to fail. An early sign of this failure is foliage die-off in the crown of the tree. Keep an eye on the ashes in your area and act quickly if you notice that the crowns look to be yellowing and dying back. 

4. Bark Damage

Emerald ash borers lay their eggs beneath the bark of the trees, where the larvae then hatch out and begin feeding. Once the larvae hit maturity, they must bore out of the trunk. This leaves a D-shaped hole in the bark, and an infested tree will have many such holes. Check the trunks regularly as you walk around your neighborhood so you can spot this sign and catch possible infestations early.

5. Untended Trees

If there are ash trees in your neighborhood that aren't being tended to, such as those growing in public or wild areas, then it is likely just a matter of time before the ash borer pests make their way into your neighborhood. Even if you see no signs of pest infestation now, it's still a good time to seek preventative treatment as there is no way to completely eradicate the pests once they do infest your trees.

Contact a tree service to learn more about emerald ash borer prevention and treatment options.