Traps set to monitor the movement of the emerald ash borer have detected the tree-killing beetle in two additional Illinois counties. Last week, infestations were confirmed in DeWitt and Stark counties.
Both detections occurred in rural areas. In DeWitt County, the beetle was discovered between Clinton Lake and the McLean County border. In Stark, it was trapped near Toulon.
"The nearly five thousand traps that were placed throughout the state have been carefully examined," says Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs. "Including these two finds, they detected the emerald ash borer in four new counties, bringing the number of counties with known infestations to 22."
The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. While the beetle does not pose any direct risk to public health, it does threaten the ash tree canopy.
Currently, 25 counties in the northeastern and central part of the state are under quarantine to slow the spread of the beetle. The quarantine prohibits the intrastate movement of potentially-contaminated wood products, including ash trees, limbs and branches and all types of firewood. However, neither DeWitt nor Stark County is within those quarantine boundaries.
"The quarantine boundaries undoubtedly will need to be adjusted," Goetsch adds. "Meantime, I'd encourage residents of DeWitt and Stark counties to put the quarantine guidelines into practice by making sure not to transport any firewood or untreated wood products outside their county of origin. I'd also encourage tree companies, villages and cities should familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations pertaining to the processing and transporting of ash materials."
The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Citizens should watch for metallic-green beetles about half the diameter of a penny on or near ash trees that are showing signs of disease or stress. Other signs of infestation in ash trees include D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and shoots growing from its base.
Since the emerald ash borer was first confirmed in the Midwest in the summer of 2002, more than 25 million ash trees have been felled by the beetle. Anyone who suspects a tree has been infested is urged to contact either their county Extension office or village forester. For more information, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com.