Skip To Content
Section Banner

Emerald Ash Borer

In order to help residents deal with this invasive pest, the Township passed an "Emerald Ash Borer Resolution" in 2003. To review the EAB resolution, click here.

Emerald Ash Borer
Agrilus planipennis

  • Invasive species in US; native to Asia
  • Adult wood boring beetle, is a dark metallic green color, ½ inch long
  • Larvae are flat, cream-colored grubs with wide heads
  • Attacks only ash trees (white, black and green)
  • Adults leave a D-shaped exit hole in the bark when they emerge in spring Firewood movement is restricted because of the EAB quarantine. Remember to BUY IT! BURN IT! LEAVE IT!
Pic-EAB-AshLeaf.jpgAccording to the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), the adult beetles are present from mid-May until late July. Larvae, which are a creamy white color, can be found under bark. The larvae feed on the inner bark of white, black & green ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Please download this MDA poster for more information on the life cycle of the EAB.

The distinctive leaves and bark of the ash tree (Fraxinus spp.) can help to identify it from other tree species. Ash trees have five, seven, or nine leaflets per leaf stem. The leaves are located directly across (or opposite) from each other. The bark is light gray and is rough and scaly on older trees. For more information on ash tree identification, please click here for a helpful identification fact sheet.

Evidence of Infestation

Symptoms of the EAB infestation can include: the initial thinning or yellowing of the foliage (general or limited to certain branches); epicormic shoots which may or may not be present on declining trees; woodpecker damage from the birds stripping away small patches of bark, so that they can extract the borers; and D-shaped emergence holes (about 3 mm in diameter) which are probably present in multiple year infestations. You may also observe that the beetles feed on ash foliage usually in small irregularly shaped patches along the margins of leaves. The tissue produced by the tree in response to larvae feeding may cause vertical splits to occur in the bark. Injury to the tree from woodpecker activity may also occur particularly in the winter. These photos below illustrate the just a few examples of EAB infestation signs and symptoms; please click here for an additional informational fact sheet.
Pic-EAB-DeadTree-(1).jpg Pic-EAB-TreeHoles.jpg
Tree canopy thinning and die back; yellowing of leaves D-shaped emergence holes
Pic-EAB-RootSuckers.jpg Pic-EAB-TreeTrunk.jpg
Suckers developing on the main trunk S-shaped galleries

Spread of EAB

The EAB presence had gone undetected until 2002 when excessive ash tree deterioration and death were first documented in Michigan. Although it is believed that the EAB entered the U.S. in wood packaging materials from Asia, it’s speculated that the beetles may have been active in the Detroit area for five years or more prior to 2002.

To date, the exotic pest has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Quarantine and Ban on Movement of Firewood in Michigan

Although the EAB can fly up to a half mile from where it emerges, the movement of hardwood firewood has proven to be the source of many "outlier" infestations throughout Michigan. Not only does the introduction of EAB infested materials severely impact the beauty of affected landscapes, more stringent fines and penalties make hardwood firewood movement a costly mistake. Help protect Michigan’s natural resources by following these firewood recommendations, BUY IT, BURN IT, LEAVE IT!  Buy firewood when you reach your destination, burn firewood on site, and leave unused firewood behind.

Michigan’s quarantine area includes all counties located in the Lower Peninsula and several areas of the Upper Peninsula. Under the quarantine it is illegal to move ash trees, branches, and wood chips larger than one inch in diameter, and non-coniferous firewood outside the Quarantine Area. EAB quarantine areas and levels are indicated on the EAB quarantine map.  In response to the discovery of additional infestation sites, hardwood firewood movement within Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has been restricted and movement out of the quarantine areas and out of the Lower Peninsula is prohibited.  Violations of the EAB quarantine can result in fines or penalties ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 and up to five years imprisonment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Whose tree is it?

Residents are responsible for the maintenance of trees on their private property. The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is responsible for the maintenance of trees along the street. However, the RCOC’s responsibility is limited to taking down dead hazard trees or limbs in the road right-of-way. If you believe that you have a dead, damaged or hazard tree along the right-of-way, please contact RCOC Citizen Service at 248-858-4804 or fill out a contact form.

If a dead tree or any part of a tree is within ten feet of a pole-to-pole power line, you can contact DTE Energy at 800-477-4747 to request a ‘Line Clearance Review’ to determine if anything needs to be done by the utility prior to any private work.

What can I do to protect my ash trees?

Pic-EAB-Treatment.jpgWe advise you to have commercial applicators treat your ash trees, particularly your large trees. However, homeowners can treat small trees very effectively. Be sure to read the label, follow the directions and wear the necessary personal protective gear. Michigan State University Extension of Oakland County has prepared a monthly guide that outlines actions that may be taken throughout the year involving assessment and treatment.  Another valuable tool, Homeowners Guide to EAB Treatment, describes varies products and lists treatment recommendations.

Are there any guidelines I should follow when hiring an arborist or tree care company?

Before you make the decision to hire an arborist, take this quiz. If you plan to remove your tree, be sure to hire a reliable, insured, and licensed arborist/tree care company.  Before work commences, be sure to obtain:
  • Estimates from multiple companies.
  • Proof of insurance
  • Written estimates of cost
  • Written agreement of disposal/site cleanup requirements
  • References
The International Society of Arborists state of Michigan maintains a list of certified arborists. Click here to find a certified Arborist or board certified Master Arborist. You will need to enter your specific zip postal code.

How can I landscape to avoid further infestation in the future?Pic-EAB-LogPile.jpg

Ash trees should be avoided as landscape options in areas where the Emerald Ash Borer problem is known. Alternative options are numerous, but diversity is the key to managing further losses due to the EAB or other diseases that may occur in single species tree plantings. Therefore there is a need to select the right tree for the right place. Selection should be based on adaptability, available space, design intent, ornamental characteristics and diversity. See the Recommended Alternatives to Ash Trees for Michigan’s Lower Peninsula publication by MSU Extension for a place to start.

Additional Information

Please contact the Bloomfield Township Engineering and Environmental Services Department by Email at if you have questions about the material presented here. Please visit the following websites for more information on the Emerald Ash Borer.

Emerald Ash Borer Information
Michigan Department of Agriculture
USDA Forest Service
North Central Research Station of the USDA

Photos courtesy of: and

Updated: January 2009