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University of Missouri

Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Threatens Missouri’s Trees

The emerald ash borer makes inroads into Kansas City.

emerald ash borer

Killer on the loose: Emerald ash borers have been spotted in Missouri. Photo by Kristin Simpson.

During summer 2012, an arborist spotted the tree-killing emerald ash borer in the Kansas City area, a new outpost on its spread across 16 U.S. states and Canada. The shimmering half-inch insect lays eggs, which grow into larvae that destroy ash trees. The species make up about 25 percent of Missouri’s urban trees, and costs for removal and replacement of millions of ash trees easily run into tens of billions of dollars. MU Extension experts say two tree treatments exist for the borer, which is native to Russia and Asia. However, they recommend waiting on treatment or removal until borers are within 15 miles.