The Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a small, flying green beetle native to Asia. First spotted in the United States in 2002 by foresters in Michigan, the EAB made its way east with the first recorded sighting in our area in 2012 in Warrington Township. Since then the beetle has spread throughout the Bucks County and Montgomery county areas and is now beginning its spread into New Jersey and beyond.


The ash borer, in its adult form, does not harm Ash trees. It’s the beetles’ larvae that feed on the cambium of ash trees and block the flow of water and nutrients needed for survival. If left untreated, an infected ash will die within 3 to 5 years, sometimes faster. What complicates matters is that the beetle lays its eggs starting at the top of the tree and then moves further down the tree with subsequent generations of larvae. This causes the tree to die from the top down. Since the tree is not receiving nutrients or water, it quickly dries out and the limbs of tree become a serious hazard if not promptly removed.


Often the signs of EAB are not noticed until the second or third year of infestation, at which point it can already be too late to treat a tree. 


Local arborists who treat the disease are finding that it’s already too late to save many of the Ash in our area. 


If you have Ash trees on your property, contact a local arborist to come and inspect your trees. If your trees are too infested to save, then it’s recommended to have them removed as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the tree becomes hazardous to climb and removal will require expensive equipment. However, if the trees are still healthy and able to pull water, then treatment is recommended as this can be much more cost effective than having the trees removed.


A single treatment will last 1 to 2 years (depending on what type of treatment you choose) and works well on trees that can still pull water to most limbs. You also won’t need to treat forever since the EAB continues to migrate as it decimates its own food source. In parts of the Midwest Arborists are already slowing down on treatment of EAB. Some estimate that the EAB could be gone from Bucks county in as little as eight to ten years.



- All Ash trees in our area are at risk

- All untreated trees will die in the next few years

- Treatment of relatively healthy trees can save them

- Trees that are no longer able to pull water effectively should be removed as quickly as possible


Additional Resources