Will the Cold Kill Ash Borer in Sioux Falls?

Its winter in South Dakota. It gets cold sometimes. Sure these few days are going to be a bit rough on the fingers and cheeks, but can there be a silver lining to these extremes? Now that emerald ash borer is in our area, the question is, “Can the non-native beetle handle the cold of our climate?”

Non-Native beetle

Emerald ash borer is a non-native beetle. It is native to northern Asia (northern China and Mongolia). So even though it is not native to North America, it evolved and came from a climate very similar to South Dakota’s. Resale arch has shown that emerald ash borer can super-cool itself down to temperatures around -25 F. Another consideration, is that since the larvae are underneath the bark of the trees, wind chill does not count.

Can the cold temperatures kill EAB?

Baby its Cold Outside!






Can it Survive?

The short answer is, yes. These very low temperatures will kill some larvae in the trees, but not enough to reduce the population significantly for us to benefit.

There is a lot of other information out there that I doln’t need to double up on, so if you would like to read more in depth, here are some links to some very good and thorough information on the cold hardiness of emerald ash borer.

  • https://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/forest-health/tree-pest-alerts/PDF/2019/01-23-2019.pdf
  • https://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/2014/01/extreme-cold-may-wipe-out-high-percentage-emerald-ash-borer-larvae/

Emerald ash borer is on a lot of people’s minds. And I hope we keep asking questions and caring about our ash trees for many more years. This issue will last for at least the next 15-20 years. We won’t even start to see tree deaths on a large scale until 2024 or later! So start your plans to either treat or remove your ash trees now, but you have time to get the process done. Just don’t forget about it or think it’s gone away because we don’t see major changes right away.

For more information on how to plan for emerald ash borer in your yard, follow these links: