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Species Page

emerald ash borer

Agrilus planipennis
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Fraxinus chinensis (chinese ash)
Fraxinus excelsior (ash)
Fraxinus lanuginosa
Fraxinus mandshurica (Manchurian ash)
Fraxinus nigra (black ash)
Fraxinus pennsylvanica (downy ash)
Fraxinus profunda (Pumpkin ash)
Fraxinus quadrangulata (Blue ash)
Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash)

List of symptoms / signs

Leaves - abnormal colours
Stems - dieback
Stems - internal feeding
Whole plant - internal feeding
Whole plant - plant dead; dieback


The larvae make long serpentine galleries (up to 26-32 mm long) into the sapwood, which enlarge as they grow and are filled with brownish sawdust and frass. Callus tissue produced by the tree in response to larval feeding may cause vertical splits, 5-10 cm long, in the bark above a gallery. Newly emerged adults bore 'D'-shaped (3-4 mm diameter) exit holes on trunks and branches. As the larvae damage the vascular system, attacks cause general yellowing and thinning of the foliage, dying of branches, crown dieback and eventually death of the tree after 2 to 3 years of infestation. Basal sprouting and also the presence of woodpeckers may indicate wood-boring beetle activity. After 1 to 2 years of infestation, the bark often falls off in pieces from damaged trees, exposing the insect galleries.

Prevention and control

Since the discovery of A. planipennis in North America in 2002, various control methods have been studied and implemented.

Silvicultural Methods

In North America and Europe, A. planipennis attacks and kills healthy trees. Thus, the silvicultural methods to maintain or enhance tree vigour, which are usually applied to prevent the attack of most bark and wood-boring insects are of little value.

To prevent the emergence of adults from dead or cut trees, mechanical destruction of infested trees through chipping, grinding or heat treatment is recommended (McCullough et al., 2007).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources: