Why it's important to Missourians
With EAB now in the Show-Me State—and its ability to hitchhike on firewood—the probability of it spreading to other areas in the state is moderate to high. Once it spreads the economic, environmental and social/political impacts of EAB will be felt throughout Missouri.
It is expected that EAB will diminish ash trees in Missouri's forests to a very low level. Ash trees account for 3 percent of Missouri’s native forest. The fast-growing shade trees are popular for landscaping, though, and about 14 percent of trees lining streets in urban settings are ash. In some neighborhoods and parks, the figure reaches as high as 30 or 40 percent.
Once EAB has infested an area, standing dead trees will be a serious threat to public safety. It is the property owner’s responsibility to remove a dead tree, which can be costly.
There are very few ways to control EAB and no control measure has proven effective on a large scale. Additionally, as more states confirm the presence of this pest, federal funding for eradication and/or mitigation of EAB has dwindled to almost nothing. This leaves states and municipalities searching for financial assistance from other sources.
- EAB is not a threat to human health, but it does threaten our forest and urban tree populations.
- EAB is 100 percent fatal to our native ash trees of any size, age, healthy or unhealthy.
- The larva (the immature stage of EAB) spends its life inside ash trees, feeding on the inner bark where we cannot see it. It can take several years before an ash tree is discovered to be infested with EAB.
- On its own, the beetle will only fly a few miles. However, it is easily and quickly transported to new areas when people inadvertently move EAB larvae inside infested firewood, ash nursery stock and other ash items.
EAB is not a "business as usual" tree pest. It kills quickly and thoroughly. If left unchecked, EAB will destroy Missouri's ash trees and the many benefits they provide: shade, wildlife habitat, and contributing to air and water quality.