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Warm weather brings EAB out sooner than expected

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Homeowners in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties who want to protect their ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) have to act quickly. That’s according to Purdue’s Department of Entomology.

This insect has already killed many ash trees in Delphi was found to be responsible for the death of several ash trees in Lafayette last year. 

EAB will kill every ash tree that is not protected with insecticides.  There are tools available for use by homeowners to protect ash trees up to 20 inches diameter (60 inches around) at chest height.  These products are available over the counter at garden centers, and contain at least 1.47% imidacloprid as the active ingredient.

These products are applied to the soil within a foot of the tree’s base, are taken up by the tree’s roots, and are transported to the foliage.  The homeowner products take time to reach the leaves, so they must be applied before the beetles emerge and begin feeding on the tree.

With the very early onset of warm weather, do-it-yourself treatment of trees are best applied sooner rather than later, ideally by May 1.  They should also make sure their trees have few signs of injury or decline, because insecticide treatments are less effective on trees that are already damaged.  A certified arborist can help them make decisions about protecting their ash trees.

There are other products available that can be applied by licensed tree care professionals that can protect ash trees later in the year, trees larger than 20 inches diameter, and trees that are less healthy.

Experts encourage homeowners to watch ash trees in their yards and neighborhoods closely for beetle damage this spring.  They might notice that branches in the very top of the trees have thin foliage, may see woodpecker holes, or splits in the bark that reveal the curvy trails left by this tree chewing insect.  Detailed photos of the symptoms are available HERE.

Trees suspected to be infested should be reported to the city foresters, who are very interested in monitoring and remaining abreast of the local infestation.

Purdue’s Neighbors Against Bad Bugs (NABB) program is designed to help communities figure out where their ash trees are and how to manage them before they are killed by EAB.  Homeowners who work as a group to manage their trees save money, because many tree care companies are happy to offer discounts for high volume work.

Neighborhood associations interested in NABB should can find more information HERE, or the NABB Facebook page HERE.