The pest has now been detected in 38 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.
EAB is a small, metallic green beetle native to Asia that only attacks ash trees. The adult beetle does very little damage—it is actually the larval stage that causes tree death. EAB larvae bore into the vascular layer beneath the bark of ash trees, creating distinct S-shaped galleries that slowly cut off the flow of water and nutrients from roots to the rest of the tree. Unfortunately, EAB kills over 99 percent of the ash trees it attacks within 3-4 years of infestation.
The pest was found in Buchanan County in 2015 and DeKalb County in 2016.
Local outdoorsman Kyle Carroll said he’s heard that EAB could eventually impact every ash tree in the United States.
“That’s hard to believe when you look around and just how many ash trees are out there and every spring there’s a gazillion of them coming up from seed,” Carroll said. “So it’s hard to imagine and I don’t mean that they’re going to go extinct, I’ve never heard anybody say that, but it is going to affect all the trees.”
Carroll said there are some options for treatment. According to the MDC, insecticides available at home improvement stores work best on trees smaller than 20-inches in trunk diameter (measured 4.5-feet from the ground). Trees larger than that size require insecticides available only to licensed applicators.
For more information on protecting your ash tree from EAB, click here.
For a map of EAB’s spread across Missouri and detailed information on identification, visit eab.missouri.edu.