Typical of native borers, the targets of the redheaded ash borer are stressed and dying trees. These trees can be mature or newly planted, or they can be recently cut and still green (unseasoned). The host list for this borer includes many hardwood tree species, but the favored hosts are ash, oak, hickory, persimmon and hackberry. This insect will also feed in fruit trees, and the author has recovered redheaded ash borers from grapevines.
In the process of looking for (and not finding) the exotic emerald ash borer, another insect pest of ash trees has been observed: the ash/lilac borer, Podosesia syringae. This native insect is found throughout Iowa and also feeds on lilac and privet.