Lilac ash borers are putting on their yearly horror show, emerging from tree trunks to fly about looking for mates. Not content to upset homeowners by leaving their tree riddled with holes, they also leave a gruesome calling card: their exoskeletons from the last molt, sticking half-in, half-out of the tree.
Talk about alarming; ash trees now appear as if they’re characters in the movie Alien, but then, Hollywood has long taken its cues from nature. After spending the winter as larvae in ash trees or lilac stems, the adults – a clearwing moth that looks like a wasp – exit and begin searching for love.
If successful, the pairing can result in up to 400 eggs laid on the bark by a female in one week before she drops from exhaustion. Let Tinsel Town write that into a script, and they’ll have mothers everywhere running from the theater screaming.
It doesn’t take long for the eggs to hatch and tunnel into the trunk, first feeding just under the bark, then moving deeper into the sapwood. The damage this borer can do is severe enough that, should you tree fall victim to it, a licensed tree care company should be called to help you treat the problem.