Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that feeds on and destroys ash trees. Continue reading about the EAB below to get a better understanding of the insect, what it does to ash trees and how it is changing our urban forest. Please email us or call us at 519-759-4150 with any questions.

Where is the problem?

Ash trees are large deciduous (leafy) trees native to our region and found all throughout Brantford.  You will see them on our streets, parks, private properties and woodlots. It is highly probable all ash trees will get the Emerald Ash Borer and die from the damage they do to the tree.

What does it mean and what impact will it have?

Emerald ash borer and its impact can be seen in every area of Brantford. Our arborists survey and manage city-owned ash trees along streets and in parks. Our EAB strategy is a triage-based approach of tree removals based on worst-to-best condition. Tree decline is subject to many factors and is hard to predict. Trees that show steep decline may pose a risk to people, property and activity and should be reported to the City of Brantford.  

Residents are encouraged to contact a certified arborist from a reputable tree care company if they have an ash tree on private property (whether healthy or not). Please see the information below to help identify if you have an ash tree.   

Do you have an ash tree?

There are several species of ash trees of in the City of Brantford.  White, green (often European), and less commonly black ash can be seen on the streets, parks, backyards and wooded areas of Brantford.  These trees were planted in urban settings for their hardiness and fast rate of growth. However, for those reasons they were often overplanted in some areas. They're all very similar in appearance.    

Where did the EAB come from?

Native to Eastern Russia, Northern China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan, the Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect likely introduced to the American state of Michigan in the early 1990's. It is believed the insect arrived in imported wooden packing materials or crates. It was officially identified in the Detroit, Michigan area in 2002. That year, officials in Canada identified the beetle in Windsor, Ontario. 

Signs your ash tree has the EAB

The first indication of invasion is general tree health problems. In its larval stage, the beetle consumes and disrupts the water and nutrient transport system of the ash tree. For trees this means leaves are slightly smaller and colouring is less deeply green. The tree blooms and leafs out later in the spring and drops leaves sooner in the fall. As stress on the tree increases, twigs and branches will die from the centre-top of the tree downward. Bark will dry and split on branches and the trunk. To compensate for the loss of leaves, the tree will send out ‘sprouts' throughout the inner branches and along the trunk.

It is rare to see the insect in their green adult form as they are in this stage to mate for only three to four weeks. However, you may be able to detect their exit holes in the bark at eye level. These are small but unmistakable inverted D-shaped holes in the bark. Also, as bark sheds you will likely see the ‘galleries' of larva feeding under the bark or the S-shaped feeding paths the larvae create. Finally, the presence of woodpeckers is another tell-tale sign that EAB has infected your ash tree.  

How does the EAB spread?

The fastest way for the EAB to spread is through people moving infected materials such as firewood, logs, branches, nursery stock or other ash wood. The beetle can fly to a range of up to 10 kilometers but prefer to remain in the area surrounding the tree they've nested in. The speed of the EAB's spread to date can mostly be attributed to our transporting them.    

IMPORTANT: Comply with federal regulation and do not remove or transport ash wood far from where it was gathered. In Brantford, please do not transport and expose wood to woodlot and naturalized areas.

For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's EAB page.