The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a tiny bullet-shaped, metallic-green beetle about a half inch long. It doesn't seem like that big a deal, but once it's infested a tree, the tree is doomed.
The University of Missouri Extension Office has devoted part of its website to the Emerald Ash Borer Program, which it calls one of the "most serious environmental threats now facing North American forests." An infestation of EAB is 100 percent fatal to the tree, and ash trees are not only used commonly for landscaping, their wood is used for baseball bats, hockey sticks and guitars.
It's believed that the EAB first came to the states in ash pallets shipped to Michigan 15-20 years ago. The first Missouri infestation was found in a Wayne County, MO campground, and adult insects have been identified in Platte County and Reynolds County.
The adult insects can't fly long distances, so officials believe that they may be travelling in firewood in the larval stage.
The Extension Office advises not to transport firewood more than 50 miles from where it was cut, and to avoid planting new ash trees so as to deprive the beetles of their food source.
Attached to this story are videos and a pamphlet from the Missouri Department of Conversation about how to identify ash trees and the EAB.