During the winter, a number of insects will die or go into hibernation for the season. Trees and other plants can finally relax and recover form a long season of battling pests. However, one pest that is responsible for killing thousands of trees each year is the Emerald Ash Borer. This pest can remain active in the winter and withstand the bitter cold. The Emerald Ash Borer can survive during the winter season and continue to kill trees, particularly the native ash trees. Crecraft for Treecraft Tree Service would like to share how these pests are surviving in the winter and what you can do to help protect your trees from the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle.
How Emerald Ash Borer Beetles Survive Winter
One reason that the Emerald Ash Borer is able to survive the cold winter season is because the ash tree can help protect the beetle. During the female’s egg laying season, which is June through August, the Emerald Ash Borer lays its eggs between the layers of the outer bark, and in small cracks and crevices of the ash tree. Once the eggs hatch they begin to bore deeper into the tree. The larvae will eventually reach the major trunk and branches of the tree. The larvae will begin to feed on the tree from the inside out all winter long. Come spring the larvae will have reached adulthood where they will reproduce and start the cycle over again. How does this exactly help the larvae stay alive in the winter? Once inside the main trunk or branches of the tree, an ash tree core temperature is suitable enough for the larvae to remain active. The ash tree that is facing the sun will be warmer yet. Not only will the tree help keep the Emerald Ash Borer warm enough to survive, but these beetles also have supercooling abilities.
What is Supercooling?
The Emerald Ash Borer uses a process known as supercooling, which is a process of lowering the temperature of the gases and liquid inside its body. The temperature drops below freezing and yet the body will not become solid or freeze. Many animals have a supercooling ability. Some animals can produce an anti-freeze protein that binds to ice crystals. This essentially prevents the water molecules from binding to the ice which prevents the ice crystals from spreading. Insects can also produce similar protein and sugar alcohols to prevent themselves from freezing. The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is one of these insects that have the supercooling means to survive and remain active in the winter. However, the Emerald Ash Borer does have its limits.
What Temp Kills Emerald Ash Borer?
A study completed by the USDA Forest Service found that extremely cold winters may cause substantial mortality of emerald ash borer larvae, however, even with extreme cold air temperatures, some emerald ash borer larvae survived. Thus, cold temperatures may not completely eliminate the insect they they may help to keep populations from building quickly and may give ash trees some time to recover from initial attacks. Once the temperature drops to about -10 degrees Fahrenheit, it is believed emerald ash borers will no longer be able to prevent freezing and will eventually freeze to death. The last time that Pennsylvania got below -10 degrees was back in 1904. This means you cannot rely on the cold to kill off the Emerald Ash Borer.
Emerald Ash Borer Tree Treatment, Emergency Tree Removal & More in West Norriton Township, Tredyffrin Township, East Norriton, Radnor, Wayne, Saint Davids, Lower Merion Township, Norristown, Upper Merion Township, Phoenixville & Greater King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
To help keep your trees safe during the winter, you will want to inspect for signs of Emerald Ash Borer activity. They often leave distinct bore hole in the tree. You can also have a professional inspect your trees if you are unsure. Additionally, an arborist can help remove the pest and treat the tree. If you need your ash trees protected from the Emerald Ash Borer, contact Crecraft for Treecraft Tree Service today.