Does Cold Weather Kill Emerald Ash Borers?

In recent years, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has firmly established itself as one of the most destructive invasive species in the United States. Minnesota is among the many states whose ash tree populations have fallen victim to the EAB scourge, and the effort to fight these invasive pests has proven frustratingly ineffective.

But with research suggesting that extremely low temperature can kill off emerald ash borer larvae, could Minnesota’s cold winters bring an end to our infestation? Keep reading to find out.


Winter’s Impact on EAB Control Efforts

Can Minnesota winters kill off emerald ash borers? The short answer is “yes”… but don’t think it’s a perfect solution to the EAB problem. Research has revealed that when temperatures drop to -20ºF, 50% of emerald ash borer larvae wintering in ash trees will die. If winter temperatures plummet to -30ºF, an estimated 90% of EAB larvae will perish in the extreme cold.

Unfortunately, as cold as Minnesota can get in the winter, it’s rarely cold enough to have a significant impact on the EAB population. The average low temperature in January, the state’s coldest month, is 6ºF. While it is common for temperatures to sometimes drop below 0ºF during the winter in Minnesota, temperatures in the Twin Cities metro don’t typically fall as low as -20ºF. The lowest temperature recorded in Minneapolis in 2022 was -17ºF, which isn’t cold enough to kill off even 50% of EAB larvae.

It’s also worth noting that even if Minnesota were to experience a cold enough winter to eradicate the vast majority of emerald ash borers in the state, EAB from warmer neighboring states could continue to invade Minnesota come spring. Because of this, a winter with record-breaking subzero temperatures still wouldn’t put a permanent end to our EAB problem.

The best method to protect your ash trees from emerald ash borers is to receive preventative treatments from tree care professionals. Scheduling EAB treatment injections for your ash trees every 2-3 years will keep EAB larvae from infesting your trees and killing them from within.


Protect Your Ash Trees With EAB Treatments

Don’t count on winter to get rid of emerald ash borers for you! If you have ash trees near your home or business, you should have preventative treatments performed to protect them from emerald ash borers. Give Pro-Tree Outdoor Services a call today if you’d like to schedule EAB treatment services in the greater Twin Cities area!

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