Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Invasive Animal

Emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)

About This Species

Emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that causes extensive damage to trees in the genus Fraxinus. Beetles and larvae can spread through the movement of infested firewood, nursery stock, and ash logs, lumber, woodchips and shipping pallets. Adult beetles can also spread by flight and are able to fly up to 10 kilometers. Upon hatching, larvae cause damage to trees by feeding on the inner bark and sapwood. This damage caused by feeding impedes the tree’s ability to receive and transport nutrients, which eventually kills the tree.

Emerald ash borer is native to East Asia and was first detected in eastern Canada and the eastern United States in 2002. It is currently present and regulated in 6 provinces and a number of states, and as of May 2024 the presence of Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in the City of Vancouver. If Emerald ash borer were to establish in BC, it could cause extensive environmental and economic damage to urban and forested areas containing Ash trees. This pest has already killed millions of trees across North America.

How to Identify

Adult beetles can be identified by their metallic green back and emerald green underside. Their bodies have a narrow, elongated shape and they possess flat heads with kidney-shaped, black eyes. The larvae are creamy white and flat with distinctive bell-shaped body segments.
Due to their small size making them difficult to spot, the best way to monitor for suspect Emerald ash borers is to focus on signs and symptoms of their presence. Look for Ash trees with thinning crowns due to branch dieback, yellowing leaves, vertical bark cracks, long shoots from the trunk or branches, D-shaped exit holes in the bark caused by emerging young adults, and irregular notches on leaves due to adults feeding. If you see bark sloughing off, one of the most telltale signs of an infestation are the flat S-shaped galleries on the inner bark and sapwood caused by larval feeding.

Take Action

If you see any suspect beetles or signs of infestations on Ash trees, report any suspect sightings immediately by contacting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency online.


Practice Buy Local Burn Local: Don’t move firewood or other ash wood material or products outside of Emerald ash borer regulated areas. See which areas in Canada are regulated for the Emerald ash borer.

Regularly monitor Ash trees in your neighborhood for signs of infestation.

Report any detections of Emerald ash borer immediately to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.


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