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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) insect in 89 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.

EAB is a small, metallic green beetle native to Asia that attacks all species of ash trees, killing more than 99% of the trees it attacks.

MDC said unfortunately, ash trees in forests across Missouri will soon be dead, as EAB continues to infest parts of the state.

Ash trees typically show a pattern of declining health for 2–4 years before being killed by EAB.

Woodpecker damage, sprouts growing from the main trunk, and major branch loss can all indicate the presence of EAB in ash trees.

“Landowners often notice woodpecker damage on their ash during the winter months — typically the first sign of EAB in an area,” said MDC Forest Entomologist Robbie Doerhoff. “By the time you notice this type of damage, it is generally too late to save your tree with insecticides.”

Protecting ash trees on your property with insecticides prior to attack by EAB is the best way to keep the trees alive, according to MDC.

Doerhoff says that once EAB becomes established in a new area and wintertime woodpecker damage becomes evident, most local ash trees will be dead within a few short years.

MDC encourages Missourians to report possible EAB infestations in counties where the pest has not yet been confirmed. Reports can be made by emailing