Insect That's Deadly To Ash Trees Confirmed In Additional Missouri Counties

Nov 6, 2019

Emerald Ash Borer
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

Emerald Ash Borer has been found in 16 more counties in Missouri, including Douglas, Howell and Ozark in southern Missouri.

The beetle, also known as EAB, kills ash trees by feeding on tissues under the bark, slowly cutting off the trees’ flow of water and nutrients, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the insect kills more than 99 percent of the trees it attacks.

It was first detected in the state in July 2008 and is now in 75 counties and the city of St. Louis.  MDC officials said it will likely be found statewide within a few years.

The Conservation Department is urging landowners to make a plan now to either remove ash trees on their property or treat them with an insecticide.  Ash trees that have been infested by EAB become brittle and dangerous, according to MDC forest entomologist, Robbie Doerhoff, and those near driveways and buildings can result in property damage.

Signs of EAB include woodpecker damage, sprouts growing from the main trunk and major branch loss.  The trees typically show a pattern of declining health for two to four years before dying.

Doerhoff said it’s critical to treat trees with insecticide before they start to look bad.

If you have an ash tree in your yard that appeared mostly healthy this growing season, he said it might be a good candidate for treatment next spring or early summer.

The Emerald Ash Borer was likely introduced into Missouri by infested firewood, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

If you’re in a county where EAB hasn’t been confirmed and you notice an infestation, report it to MDC at eab.missouri.edu or by calling the Forest Pest Hotline at 866-716-9974.