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Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer (EAB) — a beetle that is deadly to all types of ash trees — is spreading across the Midwest and Lenexa. Experts expect the beetle to kill 98 percent of the region’s ash trees over the coming years.

About EAB

How does EAB affect the tree?

Emerald ash borer beetles kill the tree by starving it of nutrients and water. Once the female lays her eggs on the bark of an ash tree, they pupate and become larvae. The larvae tunnel under the bark and disrupt the tree's vascular system by chewing on soft tissue that transports water and nutrients throughout the tree. After a couple of years, the emerald ash borer population grows exponentially inside the tree, and the combined damage will eventually kill it.

Where is EAB currently found?

EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002 and first detected in northern Lenexa in August of 2014. It has now been found in all areas of the city.


Identification and diagnosis

Identify ash trees

EAB only affects ash trees, which can be identified by their opposite branding, compound leaf and paddle-shaped seeds.

Identify an infestation

Adult beetles are dark metallic green, ½-inch long and 1/16-inch wide. Larvae are flat, legless, heavily fragmented, creamy white, and reach one inch in length when fully mature. Common signs of infestation include:

  • D-shaped exit holes through the bark about 1/8 inch wide.

  • S-shaped larval galleries just beneath the bark.

  • Thinning leaves or branches.

  • Vertical splits in the bark.

  • Unusual shoots sprouting from the main trunk or base of the tree.

  • Damage from woodpeckers trying to get the borer at its larvae stage.

Emerald ash borer beetleS-shaped galleries in tree barkEAB larvaeAsh tree damagedVertical splits in tree barkBeetles sitting on a penny

Emerald ash borer beetle (Photo credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

Emerald ash borer larvae create S-shaped galleries inside tree bark (Photo credit: TDN Tree Service)

Emerald ash borer larva inside tree (Photo credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org)

Ash tree damaged by emerald ash borer. (Photo credit: Daniel Herms, The Ohio State University)

Emerald ash borer damage can include vertical splits in tree bark(Photo credit: C. Sadof, Purdue University,

Look for D-shaped exit holes made by adult emerald ash borers (Photo credit: Total Landscape Care


What to do about your trees

Now is the time to assess your situation and determine the best course of action.

  1. Identify any ash trees on your property

  2. Decide whether you plan to try and save your ash trees. If you decide to begin treatment, you must continue treating your trees for the duration of the tree’s life.

Street tree replacement program

Our street tree replacement program uses excess funding from the Street Tree Fund to help partially reimburse you for the cost of replacing ash street trees.

  • We will provide a 50% refund on the cost of replacing an ash street tree, up to $200 per property. Once street tree funds are exhausted, the refund will no longer be available.

  • The replacement tree must remain a street tree, and our staff must approve the location and type of tree being planted.

  • Before issuing you a refund, our staff will visit your property to verify the new street tree has been planted.

  • You must provide a valid receipt showing the cost of the replacement street tree.


Help stop the spread of EAB

  • Do not move firewood. The wood may carry emerald ash borer.

  • Maintain healthy trees with proper pruning and watering.

  • Do not plant any more ash trees.

  • Spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

  • Inspect your ash trees often looking for signs of emerald ash borer.

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