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Three Strikes and You're Out – Saving Ash Trees From a Voracious Pest

emerald ash borer
Emerald ash borer on a leaf.

It's that magic time of year when the first signs of spring begin to appear everywhere—the weather starts getting warmer, robins return to build their nests, and cherry trees begin to blossom. But to some, the true harbinger of spring is the opening day of baseball season.

White ash has been a go-to wood for making Major League Baseball bats for many years because of its light weight and resistance to splintering. But alas this sturdy wood has come under attack by a little half-inch, metallic green beetle known as the “Emerald Ash borer”.

The adult beetles lay eggs in the crevices of ash tree bark in late May to mid-June and the hatching larvae bore under the bark, where their feeding cuts off the transportation of water and nutrients which the tree needs to survive.

This invasive pest was first detected near Detroit, MI, in 2002 and is found today in 33 states and two Canadian provinces. Learn how ARS scientists are working hard to fight this pest and protect our beloved ash trees.