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Emerald Ash Borer in Rhode Island


Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in Rhode Island in July 2018. An introduced pest, originally discovered in Detroit in 2002, EAB have spread to 35 states and attacks ash trees of all species, and ultimately kills any infested ash tree. EAB infestations can spread or travel up to 2 miles a year, and much faster when transported by humans in firewood, or nursery stock or ash log products. Help prevent the spread of invasive pests, learn more at “Don’t Move Firewood”.

Most ash species prefer moist well-drained soils, such as in riparian areas or lowlands, where they can occur naturally. But white, and particularly green ash, are commonly planted in landscapes and along city streets. This means that tree owners must make serious management decisions, whether a forest landowner, state or local parks and greenways, municipal street trees or private yard trees, on how to respond to EAB infestation.

The decision options include:

  • First, estimate the tree’s value in the community and evaluate the tree health.
  • Replace or remove the tree before it becomes infested. Ash trees within 15 miles of a confirmed EAB site are at risk of attack. If the tree is declining, storm damaged, or growing in a limited site, has loose bark, or if the cost of treatment will exceed the landscape value, consider replacing the tree with an alternate species rather than treat.
  • Apply treatment to infested tree. Systemic insecticides are the products of choice when treating for the emerald ash borer. They are transported within the vascular system of the tree from the roots and trunk to the branches and leaves. Systemic insecticides reduce hazard such as drift of pesticides to nontarget sites or applicator exposure, and have less impact on beneficial organisms.

The information and links below are provided to help any owner of ash trees determine their best course of action.


View 2021 Survey Results Map

Report A Pest

DEM monitors exotic pests as part of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS). If you think you've discovered a pest not native to Rhode Island, and particularly if you suspect the pest to be the Asian Longhorned Beetle or the Emerald Ash Borer, please us to let us know. Report Emerald Ash Borer Sighting

Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey
Cynthia Kwolek
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 949-1770