Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

The emerald ash borer is smaller than a penny.
The emerald ash borer is smaller than
a penny. Photo: Howard Russell,
MI State U., www.forestryimages.org

What is the emerald ash borer?

The emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis) was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario the same year. This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible.

What does it look like?

The emerald ash borer is a very small but very destructive beetle. It has four life stages: adult, egg, larva and pupa. The adult beetle has a shiny emerald green body with a coppery red or purple abdomen. The beetle can measure 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide. Adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July.

image of emerald ash borer showing a coppery red upper abdomen
Notice the coppery red color of
the EAB's upper abdomen.
EAB larva
EAB larvae can reach 2 3/4 inches long.
Photo: David Cappaert

What does it do to ash trees?

Signs of infection include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves.

Most trees die within 2 to 4 years of becoming infested. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of millions of ash trees in the U.S. since its discovery in Michigan.

What can I do to help?

The first step to effectively manage EAB is to identify current infestations. State and federal agencies are extensively monitoring for EAB but early infestations are difficult to detect.

The help of New York's citizens is vital to detecting the signs and symptoms of EAB and to finding infestations early. This will slow the spread of EAB, prevent tree deaths, and could save communities potentially millions of dollars in tree removal costs.

Please use the EAB Early Detection Brochure (PDF) (3.56 MB) to learn how to spot infestations, and the EAB Survey Form (PDF) (172 KB) to report what you see (even if you don't find EAB).

After reviewing the identification material on this website, if you think you have EAB, call the Department's EAB and Firewood hotline at 1-866-640-0652.

Watch a clip about Emerald Ash Borer and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

Links to general information about the emerald ash borer:

The rest of these links lead off the DEC website. By clicking on them, you will leave the DEC website.


More about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB):