Protection of individual ash trees from emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) with basal soil applications of imidacloprid

J Econ Entomol. 2010 Feb;103(1):119-26. doi: 10.1603/ec09137.


We conducted field trials at five different locations over a period of 6 yr to investigate the efficacy of imidacloprid applied each spring as a basal soil drench for protection against emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Canopy thinning and emerald ash borer larval density were used to evaluate efficacy for 3-4 yr at each location while treatments continued. Test sites included small urban trees (5-15 cm diameter at breast height [dbh]), medium to large (15-65 cm dbh) trees at golf courses, and medium to large street trees. Annual basal drenches with imidacloprid gave complete protection of small ash trees for three years. At three sites where the size of trees ranged from 23 to 37 cm dbh, we successfully protected all ash trees beginning the test with <60% canopy thinning. Regression analysis of data from two sites reveals that tree size explains 46% of the variation in efficacy of imidacloprid drenches. The smallest trees (<30 cm dbh) remained in excellent condition for 3 yr, whereas most of the largest trees (>38 cm dbh) declined to a weakened state and undesirable appearance. The five-fold increase in trunk and branch surface area of ash trees as the tree dbh doubles may account for reduced efficacy on larger trees, and suggests a need to increase treatment rates for larger trees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / drug effects*
  • Fraxinus / parasitology*
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Insect Control
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Soil*


  • Imidazoles
  • Insecticides
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds
  • Soil
  • imidacloprid