Will the Emerald Ash Borer beetle hit Denver in 2017?

Fielding Tree EAB beetle Denver


“The beetles are coming! The beetles are coming!”

Okay, lame joke aside, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle is no laughing matter. If you’re not familiar with the Emerald Ash Borer, also known as the EAB beetle, click here to read about the EAB beetle from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Did you catch the part about the EAB being found in Boulder in 2013? That’s an important detail to remember…

The Denver metro area is home to an estimated 1.45 million ash trees. The EAB take approximately three to five years to build up its population and destroy trees. Here is a quick snapshot of how the EAB beetle affects ash trees:

“The 1/2-inch long, dark green adult beetles are active from late May through July, as they feed on ash trees and lay eggs on the bark. After hatching, the resulting EAB larvae tunnel into the bark to feed in the phloem and outer sapwood layers of the tree, producing galleries that girdle and ultimately kill the tree within two to four years. These expanding S-shaped galleries can be located when the bark is removed.” (Colorado State Forest Service)

But, won’t predators keep the EAB beetle in check? Unfortunately, no. Since the emerald ash borer beetle is not native to Colorado, it doesn’t have a natural enemy. Horticulture experts predict the sheer population growth of EAB beetles overwhelm any potential predators. Ash trees in Denver will start feeling the effects of EAB infestation as early as fall 2017.

How to protect ash trees from the emerald ash borer beetle in Colorado

There are four steps to protecting your ash trees from EAB infestation:

  1. Don’t move ash firewood. Ever. The EAB came to the U.S. via packing wood and continues to spread by humans carrying firewood across state lines or even counties. Burn your firewood in the same area where you buy it.
  2. Identify your ash trees. How do you know which of your trees are ash trees? The Colorado State Forest Service has an excellent guide on how to identify ash trees. If you’re still not sure, our certified arborists at Fielding Tree can identify any of your ash trees for you.
  3. Participate in the city of Denver’s “Be a Smart Ash” campaign. Visit beasmartash.org to see the latest updates on the EAB’s effect on ash trees in Denver.
  4. Contact Fielding Tree & Shrub Care to talk about treatments to protect your ash trees.