Emerald Ash Borer FAQs

What Does the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Look Like?

Adult beetles are slender and 1/2-inch long. Males are smaller than females. Color varies but adults are usually bronze or golden green overall, with metallic, emerald green wing covers. The top of the abdomen under the wings is metallic purplish red and can be seen when the wings are spread.

Larvae reach a length of approximately 1 inch and are white or cream colored. The body is flattened and bell-shaped; the brown head is mostly retracted into the body and only the mouth parts are visible externally. The 10-segmented abdomen has a pair of brown, pincer-like appendages on the last segment.

Where was the Emerald Ash Borer First Found in the United States?

The first United States identification of emerald ash borer was in southeastern Michigan in 2002.

Where is the Emerald Ash Borer Currently Found in the United States?

The emerald ash borer is currently found in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. For a map showing high risk areas, visit the Pest Tracker. For a current map of infested areas, visit

What Types of Plants Does the Emerald Ash Borer Infest?

Emerald ash borer primarily damages and kills green, white, blue and black ash trees.

What Kind of Damage Can the Emerald Ash Borer Cause?

Larval feeding in the tissue between the bark and sapwood disrupts transmission of nutrients and water in a tree, eventually causing branches and the entire tree to die. Foliage may yellow, thin and wilt, and the tree canopy becomes increasingly thin and sparse as branches die. Many trees lose 30 to 50 percent of the canopy after two years of infestation and die within three to four years.

Are Quarantine and/or Eradication Programs in Place for the Emerald Ash Borer?

United States Department of Agriculture quarantines are currently in place in the entire states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. USDA quarantines are also in place in select areas of Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The discovery of Emerald ash borer triggers quarantine procedures for wood products including firewood of all hardwood species, such as ash, oak, maple and hickory; nursery stock and green lumber of ash; any other ash material, living, dead, cut or fallen including logs, stumps, roots, branches and composted or uncomposted chips. Affected industries include commercial firewood dealers, retail firewood sellers, nursery owners, growers, sawmills, wood haulers, wood brokers and the general public.

You can see the Pest Tracker for a general overview of the federal quarantines and high risk areas.

What Methods are Used to Control the Emerald Ash Borer Population?

Research is being conducted to determine possible options for the future, including improved pesticide treatment and biological control using parasitoids for live trees, and heat or other typres of treatment for firewood.

What Can We Do?

Cooperation among Federal and State government agencies, municipalities, universities, the green industry and the public is essential to minimize the impact of the emerald ash borer because human behavior is a significant factor in its spread. Things you can do to prevent the spread include:

  1. Don't move firewood. Emerald ash borer larvae can survive hidden in the bark of firewood. A good rule of thumb is buy local, burn local.
  2. Visually inspect your trees. Early detection is important, so if you see any sign or symptom of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, contact your State agriculture agency.
  3. Spread the word. Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about Emerald Ash Borer and what they should be aware of on their trees.
  4. Ask questions. If you receive ash nursery stock or firewood, know its point of origin and your supplier, as larvae could be hiding under the bark.
  5. Know State and Federal regulations. Make sure you understand regulations that govern your state and those you may visit.