Home / Jewel Beetles (Buprestidae) / Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (Agrilus planipennis)

Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (Agrilus planipennis)

The emerald ash borer beetle is a member of the family of jewel beetles, named for its emerald hue. It is considered a pest to ash trees globally as both the larvae and adults infest them.

Emerald Ash Borer

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 0.85 cm

Color: These beetles consist of several shades of green. Their elytra are dark green, and the rest of their body is a brighter, metallic green. The elytra also possess some copper hues. When the wings and elytra are open, the upper side of their abdomen is revealed to be bright red. In rare cases, these beetles may be coppery- red, bluish-green, or green with bluish elytra.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Buprestidae
  • Genus: Agrilus
  • Scientific name: Agrilus planipennis

Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

Other Characteristic Features: A minor spine is seen at the tip of the abdomen alongside serration, beginning at the fourth antennal segment. One of their distinguishing features is the small spine, seen on their abdominal tip. Their antennae display serration from the fourth segment onwards.

Emerald Ash Borer Image

Larva

The larvae are cream-colored, with segments of their bodies resembling little bells. They go through four instars, reaching 1.5 in when fully mature.

Emerald Ash Borer Larvae

Pupa

Pupation takes place inside a chamber excavated within the sapwood of the host plant, hollowed out by the larva. They spend the entire winter like this.

Emerald Ash Borer Pupa

Egg

The eggs are 0.6 to 1.0 mm in diameter, initially white but turning reddish-brown if fertilized.

Emerald Aash Borer Eggs

Quick facts

Other namesEAB
Lifespan6 weeks
DistributionNative: North-eastern Asia, including Korea, Japan, Mongolia, northern China, and Russia Invasive: North America and eastern Europe
HabitatAny forests with ash trees
Seasons activeLate-May to early-July
Host plantsAsh trees, including Chinese ash, Manchurian ash, black ash, blue ash, white ash, green ash, etc
Diet of adultsLeaves of the host plant
Emerald Ash Borer Damage

Identifying the damage caused by them

The larval stage is considered the most destructive stage of this beetle as it bores deep into the wood of ash trees and feeds on the bark from underneath. One can detect signs of an infestation from the D-shaped holes in the bark caused by the adults exiting their hosts.

These beetles spread when the timber of infested trees gets transferred to different areas. The adults emerge from the wood, and the cycle begins anew. This is how the beetles initially came to the States from Japan.

Emerald Ash Borer Habitat

Did you know

  • French entomologist Léon Marc Herminie Fairmaire first described this species in 1888. However, Czech entomologist Jan Obenberger, unaware of Fairmaire’s work separately described this species as Agrilus marcopoli.
  • The six spotted tiger beetle is often confused with the emerald ash borer due to their similar appearance and green coloration.
Emerald Ash Borer Picture

Image Source: northernvirginiamag.com, hort.extension.wisc.edu, britannica.com, steintree.com, exoticpests.gc.ca, a4.pbase.com, invasiveinsects.ca, images.squarespace-cdn.com, fs.usda.gov, 1.bp.blogspot.com

The emerald ash borer beetle is a member of the family of jewel beetles, named for its emerald hue. It is considered a pest to ash trees globally as both the larvae and adults infest them.

Emerald Ash Borer

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 0.85 cm

Color: These beetles consist of several shades of green. Their elytra are dark green, and the rest of their body is a brighter, metallic green. The elytra also possess some copper hues. When the wings and elytra are open, the upper side of their abdomen is revealed to be bright red. In rare cases, these beetles may be coppery- red, bluish-green, or green with bluish elytra.

Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

Other Characteristic Features: A minor spine is seen at the tip of the abdomen alongside serration, beginning at the fourth antennal segment. One of their distinguishing features is the small spine, seen on their abdominal tip. Their antennae display serration from the fourth segment onwards.

Emerald Ash Borer Image

Larva

The larvae are cream-colored, with segments of their bodies resembling little bells. They go through four instars, reaching 1.5 in when fully mature.

Emerald Ash Borer Larvae

Pupa

Pupation takes place inside a chamber excavated within the sapwood of the host plant, hollowed out by the larva. They spend the entire winter like this.

Emerald Ash Borer Pupa

Egg

The eggs are 0.6 to 1.0 mm in diameter, initially white but turning reddish-brown if fertilized.

Emerald Aash Borer Eggs

Quick facts

Other namesEAB
Lifespan6 weeks
DistributionNative: North-eastern Asia, including Korea, Japan, Mongolia, northern China, and Russia Invasive: North America and eastern Europe
HabitatAny forests with ash trees
Seasons activeLate-May to early-July
Host plantsAsh trees, including Chinese ash, Manchurian ash, black ash, blue ash, white ash, green ash, etc
Diet of adultsLeaves of the host plant
Emerald Ash Borer Damage

Identifying the damage caused by them

The larval stage is considered the most destructive stage of this beetle as it bores deep into the wood of ash trees and feeds on the bark from underneath. One can detect signs of an infestation from the D-shaped holes in the bark caused by the adults exiting their hosts.

These beetles spread when the timber of infested trees gets transferred to different areas. The adults emerge from the wood, and the cycle begins anew. This is how the beetles initially came to the States from Japan.

Emerald Ash Borer Habitat

Did you know

  • French entomologist Léon Marc Herminie Fairmaire first described this species in 1888. However, Czech entomologist Jan Obenberger, unaware of Fairmaire’s work separately described this species as Agrilus marcopoli.
  • The six spotted tiger beetle is often confused with the emerald ash borer due to their similar appearance and green coloration.
Emerald Ash Borer Picture

Image Source: northernvirginiamag.com, hort.extension.wisc.edu, britannica.com, steintree.com, exoticpests.gc.ca, a4.pbase.com, invasiveinsects.ca, images.squarespace-cdn.com, fs.usda.gov, 1.bp.blogspot.com

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