EAB, also known as emerald ash borer, is an invasive, wood-boring beetle known to attack and kill ash trees. No, it’s not in Washington state yet, but could be in the near future.
Originally native to China, EAB was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. There is speculation that EAB entered the U.S. on wooden crates or shipping materials from Asia. Over the past 15 years, EAB has spread to 26 states and even portions of Canada. There is an estimated 8 billion ash trees in the U.S. with little resistance to this bug, making them all susceptible to an invasion. Indications suggest an invasion is not far off for the Pacific Northwest.
EAB is being labeled as one of the most costly and ecologically devastating species to North American forests. In the Pacific Northwest, EAB would have less of a devastating effect because ash trees make up a smaller percentage of our forests. However, species like the Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) and varieties of non-native white ash (Fraxinus americana), and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) would be susceptible to the species.
To monitor their arrival, the Washington State Department of Agriculture has deployed traps to screen for EAB and is currently working with the Washington Invasive Species Council to help lower possible impacts of this little pest.