Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Challenges, tactics and integrated management of emerald ash borer in North America.

Abstract

Emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), discovered in southeastern Michigan, USA in 2002, has become the most destructive and costly invasive forest insect in North America. This phloem-boring beetle has also invaded Moscow, Russia and continued spread of EAB potentially threatens European ash (Fraxinus spp.) species. This review summarizes EAB life history, including interspecific variation in host preference, invasion impacts and challenges of detecting new infestations and provides an overview of available management tactics. Advances in systemic insecticides, particularly emamectin benzoate products applied via trunk injection, have yielded effective and practical options both to protect individual trees and to slow EAB population growth and ash decline on an area-wide basis without disrupting natural enemies. Economic costs of treating ash are substantially lower than removal costs, retain ecosystem services provided by the trees, reduce sociocultural impacts and conserve genetic diversity in areas invaded by EAB. Girdled ash trees are highly attractive to EAB adults in low-density populations and debarking small girdled trees to locate larval galleries is the most effective EAB detection method. An array of woodpeckers, native larval parasitoids and introduced parasitoids attack EAB life stages but mortality is highly variable. Area-wide management strategies that integrate insecticide-treated trees, girdled ash trap trees and biological control can be adapted for local conditions to slow and reduce EAB impacts.