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Identifying and Treating for
the Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive, destructive pest of ash trees, is now a threat to the landscapes of Wisconsin. At David J. Frank Landscape Contracting, Inc., we understand the vast impact EAB can have on our state's environment and economy, so our arborists are committed to educating people about this dangerous pest and providing responsible options for tree care.

What Does an Emerald Ash Borer Look Like?

The emerald ash borer is bright metallic green, ½ inch in length with a flat back, and has purple abdominal segments beneath covered wings.  Its larva (babies) are white and legless with flat, bell-shaped body segments and two small appendages at the end segment.


In spite of the huge threat EAB poses, the bugs in your trees are tiny.  In fact, you will likely see changes in your ash trees long before you discover the insects causing them. The exotic pest probably migrated to the area at least ten years prior, originally arriving in North America via wood crating, pallets or other packing material from Asia.

Signs of an EAB-Affected Tree

Symptoms of a tree with Emerald Ash Borer include dying branches, beginning at the top and progressing until all is bare; epicormic shoots, which are sprouts growing from the trunk and roots; bark damage or splitting caused by the formation of callous tissue; winding s-shaped tunnels or "galleries" carved into the wood by feeding larvae; "D" shaped holes in trees where adults exit the tree; and finally, increased woodpecker activity and damage as these birds eat the bugs that are eating your leaves.

Spraying Trees or Trunk Injections for EAB

While there are no guarantees against this aggressive pest, properly treating trees may prove an important part of preserving a wooded property. For larger trees, there are three options:

1) Soil-applied insecticide (granular or soil-drenching) can be applied at the base of the tree once each spring – between March and May – as EAB larva begin to feed.

2) Leaf/bark treatment can be extremely effective, but trees will need to be sprayed twice a month, each month, from May until July, when the adult EAB is actively feeding.

3) IMA-jet (an Imidacloprid) can be injected directly into the trunk each spring, where it is quickly absorbed by the tree to kill the borers in their earliest stage.


Weighing all factors, we may find it to be more cost-effective to remove and replace the tree. In these situations, we are careful to properly dispose of all wood, and will help you select a new tree that is best suited to your property and preferences.

For more information, or to schedule a check-up for your trees, contact one of our maintenance specialists.