Destructive Insects Creep Closer to Oklahoma


With the quarantine of ash trees in Arkansas, the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) to millions of Oklahoma ash trees intensifies for southeastern Oklahoma, especially McCurtain and Le Flore counties. As the pest is literally next door, Oklahoma Forestry Services is asking Oklahomans to help prevent the infestation spread and be on the lookout and report any signs that the insect is in the state.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an Asian, invasive, wood-boring beetle, first detected in the United States in 2002 in Michigan. Since its detection, these beetles have moved to at least 20 other states and have killed tens of millions of ash trees, costing communities, property owners and industries millions of dollars. It is suspected to have accidentally arrived in the United States from Asia in wood packing material.

Help prevent the spread

New infestations are caused by people unknowingly moving infested ash to an uninfected area. The fastest means for moving Emerald Ash Borer to new areas is by transporting infested firewood to areas that don’t already have it. Oklahoma Forestry Services urges Oklahomans not to move firewood, but instead to buy it where they are going to burn it. Don’t take firewood to a campsite, and don’t bring firewood home. If someone has already transported firewood, they should burn it all completely.

If you have ash trees on your property

OFS recommends consulting with a professional forester or certified arborist to explore options for your ash trees, based on their condition, objectives for your property and the status of EAB in your area. The good news is that it’s possible to save your ash trees from the EAB invasion. There are professional and over-the-counter insecticides available to protect ash trees. However, insecticide treatments could be costly, and other options should be considered prior to treating your trees.

Be on the lookout

Oklahoma Forestry Services is also asking people to keep an eye out for signs of Emerald Ash Borer infestation in ash trees. Here’s what to look for:

Adult EAB - Is a glittery emerald green color and about 1/2'’ long. They are difficult to detect.

Larva - It is a cream color and distinctly segmented. It is easy to spot by peeling back loose bark.

S-shaped galleries – After the larvae have matured and exited the tree, distinct s-shaped galleries are left under the bark.

D-shaped exit holes are left in the tree.

Crown Decline – the top 1/3 of the tree typically dies first, then progresses down the tree.

Epicormic Sprouts – As the top of the tree declines, new shoots may be produced lower on the tree.

Multiple Trees – Infestation almost always includes a number of declining ash in the area.

Woodpecker Holes – Woodpeckers love EAB larvae, so woodpecker holes might indicate EAB.

Please notify Oklahoma Forestry Services at 405-522-6158 if you see signs of EAB infestation in ash trees. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer visit