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Native Woodborers and Emerald Ash Borer Lookalikes

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an invasive metallic woodboring beetle that attacks ash trees, Fraxinus spp.  Emerald ash borer has been spreading rapidly throughout North America and was discovered in Oklahoma for the first time in October 2016.  A key to effective management of EAB is early detection, which relies on correct identification of the insect.  However, there are other woodborers that attack ash trees, and many other insects that resemble EAB.  This publication highlights native ash borers and commonly encountered look-alikes to aid in identification and reporting of this invasive species.

 

Native Ash Borers 

 

Clearwing borers 

Wasp-mimicking moths are active during the day and attracted to stressed or dying trees; larvae hatch from eggs laid on bark, tunnel within trees and feed on xylem, inhibiting water transport.

Banded ash clearwing.

 

 

Figure A: Banded ash clearwing, Podosesia aureocincta, adult

 

 

 

Banded ash clearwing.

 

 

Figure B:  Banded ash clearwing, Podosesia aureocincta, larva 

 

 

 

 

Adult ash/lilac borer.

 

 

Figure C: ash/lilac borer, P. syringae, adult

 

 

 

 

Larvae expel sawdust-like frass

 

 

Figure D:  Larvae expel sawdust-like frass (fecal material) from tree

 

 

 

 

Pupae are exposed from trunk and adults emerge from trees, leaving behind ¼-inch, circular exit holes

 

 

Figure E: Pupae are exposed from trunk and adults emerge from trees, leaving behind ¼-inch, circular exit holes

 

 

 

  • Banded ash clearwing, Podosesia aureocincta, adult (A) and larva (B); ash/lilac borer, P. syringae, adult (C).
  • Larvae expel sawdust-like frass (fecal material) from tree (D).
  • Pupae are exposed from trunk and adults emerge from trees, leaving behind ¼-inch, circular exit holes (E). 

Roundheaded Borers

Redheaded ash borer.

 

 

Figure F: Redheaded ash borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, adult

 

 

 

 

Redheaded ash borer.

 

 

Figure G: Redheaded ash borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, larva 

 

 

 

 

Banded ash borer.

 

 

Figure H: banded ash borer, N. caprea, adult

 

 

 

 

Larvae on a tree trunkFigure I: Larvae emerge from eggs and bore into vascular tissues, then tunnel deep within heartwood 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adults emerge from ¼-inch, circular exit holes

 

 

Figure J: Adults emerge from ¼-inch, circular exit holes 

 

 

 

 

  • Adults are called longhorned beetles and are attracted to stressed ash trees, but also colonize elm, hickory, oak, and other hardwoods; females lay eggs in bark cracks and crevices.
  • Redheaded ash borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, adult (F) and larva (G); banded ash borer, N. caprea, adult (H).
  • Larvae emerge from eggs and bore into vascular tissues, then tunnel deep within heartwood (I).
  • Adults emerge from ¼-inch, circular exit holes (J). 

Bark Beetles  

 Eastern ash bark beetle.

 

 

Figure K:  Eastern ash bark beetle, Hylesinus aculeatus, adult.

 

 

 

 

Cylindrical bark beetle that forms galleries beneath bark of ash trees

 

 

Figure L: Cylindrical bark beetle that forms galleries beneath bark of ash trees

 

 

 

 

Bark of infested trees peppered with tiny, round exit holes.

 

 

Figure M: Bark of infested trees peppered with tiny, round exit holes measuring approximately 1/16 inch 

 

 

 

 

  • Eastern ash bark beetle, Hylesinus aculeatus, adult (K).
  • Cylindrical bark beetle that forms galleries beneath bark of ash trees (L).
  • Bark of infested trees peppered with tiny, round exit holes measuring approximately 1/16 inch (M).

 

Emerald Ash Borer Lookalikes

Japanese beetle.

 

 

Figure N: Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica

 

 

 

 

 

Green June beetle.

 

 

Figure O: Green June beetle, Cotinis nitida

 

 

 

 

 

 Dogbane beetle.

 

 

Figure P:  Dogbane beetle, Chrysochus auratus

 

 

 

 

 

Six-spotted tiger beetle.

 

 

Figure Q: Six-spotted tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata

 

 

 

 

 

Caterpillar hunter.

 

 

Figure R: Caterpillar hunter, Calosoma spp.

 

 

 

 

 

Red-legged buprestis.

 

 

Figure S: Red-legged buprestis, Buprestis rufipes 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronze birch borer.

 

 

Figure T: Bronze birch borer, Agrilus anxius

 

 

 

 

 

Two-lined chestnut borer.

 

 

Figure U: Two-lined chestnut borer, Agrilus bilineatus

 

 

 

 

 

  • Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica (N).
  • Green June beetle, Cotinis nitida (O).
  • Dogbane beetle, Chrysochus auratus (P).
  • Six-spotted tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata (Q).
  • Caterpillar hunter, Calosoma spp. (R).
  • Red-legged buprestis, Buprestis rufipes (S).
  • Bronze birch borer, Agrilus anxius (T).
  • Two-lined chestnut borer, Agrilus bilineatus (U).

If you encounter emerald ash borer in your area, please contact USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at (405)609-8840 and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) at (405)522-5971.  For more information about emerald ash borer, please visit the national Emerald Ash Borer website at www.emeraldashborer.info and the Don’t Move Firewood campaign website at www.dontmovefirewood.org.

 

Eric Rebek 

Extension Entomologist

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