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The western ash bark beetle (Hylesinus californicus) attacks true ash trees. It is native to the Prairie Provinces and present in most locations in low numbers. Following successive years of summer drought, the odour produced by stressed trees can trigger an escalated breeding response in this pest, resulting in an outbreak.
Adults are oval-shaped, 2-3 mm in length and may vary from light reddish-brown to dark brown.
Beetles bore into branches and their galleries eventually cut off sap flow to the wood, resulting in branch death. Successive years of feeding may eventually kill a heavily infested tree.
Control can be accomplished by maintaining tree health. A well-watered ash tree seldom has high populations of the beetle. Affected branches showing breather holes may be pruned out and destroyed prior to September.
Symptoms of Western ash bark beetle infestation are deadwood and stunted leaves.
Below these stunted leaves you'll find a ring of breathing holes girdling the branch. Fresh holes often weep sap that stains the bark a dark color.
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