Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer is a federally regulated pest, which means its detection will trigger specific regulations that are designed to help prevent its man assisted spread. The USDA, GA Dept. of Agriculture and GA Forestry Commission have been working together to ensure that the regulations minimally impact businesses but at the same time, will limit the likelihood emerald ash borer will be moved in ash nursery stock, or in logs, mulch, firewood, and other similar items.

News and Resources

Forestry - Urban and Rural Occurrence:

  • As of August 2019, EAB has been found in 35 states, 5 Canadian provinces and has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees.
  • Georgia has 5 native species of ash (Green, Carolina, Pumpkin, Blue and White) with Green ash being the most common and widespread species.
  • Ash tends to occupy lower slope areas and along streams, creeks and river bottoms, and is also a fairly common tree in urban areas. Further, ash protects water quality by stabilizing streamside areas, and serves as an important shade tree.
  • We estimate that ash comprises about 1% of the number of forest trees, and can be found on 1.77 million acres of forest land (although it is most often found in mixed stands of other hardwood species). Estimated commercial value exceeds $400 million.
  • Although no definitive studies exist for urban ash trees, it has been estimated (via remote sensing studies) that Georgia has about 2.9 million ash trees around homes, businesses, parks, streets and urban areas. We estimate the value of these trees to be about $725 million.

Wildlife Benefits

  • Ash trees provide direct benefits to a variety of wildlife species. The seeds of ash trees are eaten by waterfowl, upland gamebirds, songbirds, and small mammals. White-tailed deer and beaver browse on the leaves and twigs of ash trees. Cavity-nesting birds such as woodpeckers, wood ducks, and owls can be found in larger trees. Ash trees also serve as larval host plants for some species of butterflies, including the tiger swallowtail and Baltimore checkerspot.
  • Ash trees growing along streams help reduce sedimentation and provide shading of the stream channel, reducing seasonal and daily temperature fluctuations. This helps protect habitat quality for a variety of aquatic organisms.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Information

  • Since 2002, the emerald ash borer has been detected in 21 (as of July 2013) states and has killed tens of millions of ash trees.
  • Adult EAB are a bright, metallic, emerald green color and are less than 1/2 inch long (7.5 - 13.5 mm). They can feed on ash foliage, although that damage is considered minimal.
  • The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients, and ultimately killing the tree. Larvae make serpentine (S-shaped) galleries on trees that are packed with sawdust. There may be vertical splitting of bark over larval galleries. EAB adults make characteristic D-shaped emergence holes on the bark.
  • Symptoms of EAB include canopy dieback, beginning in top one-third of canopy and progressing until tree is bare.
  • Trees may also have epicormic shoots (sprouts grow from roots and trunk).
  • Woodpeckers may feed on EAB larvae and pupae, and they leave large holes on bark while foraging.
  • To slow the human-assisted spread of EAB, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has adopted regulations to control movement of ash trees, logs and hardwood firewood in areas where EAB occurs. Note, the regulations also include nursery stock and all other ash material, living or dead, cut or fallen, including stumps, roots, branches and chip (both composted and un-composted).
  • Municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries in the U.S. have lost tens of millions of dollars (lost revenue, tree removal, etc.)

What Is Being Done

Extensive trapping for EAB conducted in Georgia: 370 traps in 45 counties (2013), 768 traps in 71 counties (2012), and 164 traps in 57 counties (2011).

  • 2013 – 370 traps – first detection in GA (2 counties)
  • 2014 – 1244 traps – 9 new counties        
  • 2015 -  710 traps – 7 new counties
  • 2016 –875 traps - 4 new counties
  • 2017 – 665 - no new counties
  • 2018 – 91 traps – 3 new counties
  • 2019 – 79 traps – 6 new counties
  • As of September 2019, EAB has been found in 32 Georgia counties

What You Can Do

  • Don't move firewood outside of the county where it originated.
  • Use local firewood or purchase firewood from the park office.
  • If you brought firewood to camp with you, burn it all on-site before leaving.
  • Leave your firewood at home next time you visit Georgia's campgrounds.

For More Information

Contact your local County Extension Office
or your local Georgia Forestry Commission Office
or the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture Plant Protection Division
or email to Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at: bugwood@uga.edu

Websites of Interest


Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

D-Shaped Exit Hole
Photo by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Archive, Bugwood.org