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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

Emerald Ash Borer

Bark-Applied Chemicals to Control EAB

Research Issue

[photo:] Preparing firewood for studySince the discovery of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Michigan in 2002 it has been realized that firewood and logs are two of the main pathways by which EAB has been moved to new location by humans.  The current federal quarantine regulates movement of ash firewood and logs in all infested states.  People have wondered if EAB could be controlled with an insecticide spray or dip while still under the bark of infested firewood and logs.  It was thought that insecticides applied to the bark could kill EAB life stages given that larvae feeds in the cambial region just under the bark, and pupates in either the outer sapwood or the outer bark.  We designed studies to address this question.

 Our Research

In one study, we cut log sections from EAB-infested ash trees during winter and spring and then sprayed different insecticides on the bark surface to kill EAB.  We tested imidacloprid, bifenthrin, and permethrin.  The chemicals were applied once or twice approximately one month before adult emergence, or once or twice approximately two weeks before adult emergence was expected to begin.

Overall, all three chemicals were very effective in reducing the number of EAB adults that emerged from the treated logs.  Logs that received two chemical applications had the highest mortality, while timing of application did not significantly affect EAB mortality.

In another study, we compared different concentrations of imidacloprid and borate solutions for killing EAB in infested logs.  We cut logs from infested ash trees and either dipped or sprayed them with solutions of 0.01% imidacloprid or various concentrations of borate.  No EAB adults emerged from logs that were dipped or sprayed with imidacloprid.  However, EAB did emerge from logs treated with borate.  Nevertheless, EAB emergence from the highest concentration of borate tested (5.52%), was significantly lower when compared to untreated logs.

Expected Outcomes

Our results will be useful to regulatory personnel and resource managers when setting guidelines for sanitizing infested ash logs.  Our findings indicate that when logs are treated with imidacloprid, bifenthrin, or permethrin, EAB adult emergence is significantly reduced and fine tuning of the concentrations and application methods could eliminate EAB emergence completely.  Borate at higher concentrations should also be investigated as an inexpensive alternative for reducing EAB adult emergence from logs.

Research Results

Nzokou, Pascal; Petrice, Toby R.; Haack, Robert A.; Kamdem, D. Pascal. 2006. Borate and imidacloprid treatment of ash logs infested with emerald ash borer. Forest Products Journal 56(5): 78-81.

Petrice, Toby R.; Haack, Robert A. 2006. Efficacy of three insecticides applied to bark to control Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Great Lakes Entomologist 39: 27-33.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Robert Haack, USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station Research Entomologist
  • Toby Petrice, USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station Entomologist

Principal Partners

  • Pascal Nzokou, Michigan State University, Assistant Professor of Forestry
  • D. Pascal Kamdem, Michigan State University, Professor of Forestry

Last Modified: 12/07/2017

About this Research Area
About Emerald Ash Borer
Selected Studies