Ash trees threatened in Buffalo area

emerald ash borerby Connie Oswald Stofko

The emerald ash borer, an insect that might  be admired for its beauty if it wasn’t so destructive, is threatening ash trees in the Buffalo area.

Although the beetle hasn’t yet been spotted in Erie or Niagara Counties, “Unfortunately, it’s pretty much all around us,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. “It’s not official, but I think it’s safe to say they’re here in some form.”

The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, probably arrived in wood packing material from Asia and was discovered near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, which kills the trees.

Since its discovery, the EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri,Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Quebec, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and New York, according to

This is a problem you have to worry about only if you have ash trees, Farfaglia explained. The EAB is very specific to ash trees and won’t bother other shade or ornamental trees in your yard.

However, if you do have ash trees, you need to decide whether you’re willing to invest money to protect their lives, Farfaglia said. There are treatments available, but the treatments involve injections of chemicals that must be done by a professional over two or three years. He suggests talking to a certified arborist about taking preventive measures in the spring.

If you decide you don’t want to invest money in your ash trees, you may choose to enjoy them as long they last and plan to replace them when they die.

“I wish I could be more optimistic, but it’s not looking good for the future of ash trees,” Farfaglia said.

More information for homeowners, including how to identify ash trees and how to choose an arborist,  is available at Free online webinars are also scheduled.

The photo is from

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