The Illinois Department of Ag announced last week that Jo Daviess is the latest county to fall victim to the emerald ash borer, a destructive pest responsible for killing millions of ash trees in North America. As it is the northwestern-most county in the state, EAB officially has spanned across the northern third of Illinois. EAB also was recently found in Whiteside County and confirmed this July.
“EAB has literally made its way across Illinois and people are now beginning to see the devastation in the tree canopies of their hometowns,” EAB Program Manager Scott Schirmer said. “Thus far, the infestation appears relatively localized and treatment is still an option for area ash-tree owners, but it’s a good time to begin evaluating the canopy landscape in your area. Begin reforesting with other species of trees and diversifying your own backyard canopies, as well as considering treatment to conserve high value ash.”
If you have an ash tree in your yard, the emerald ash borer should be something to be aware of, states University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, Candice Miller. If you’ve never heard of the emerald ash borer, University of Illinois Extension has many resources available to you and will be holding EAB public education programs in the coming months.
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. Since the first detection of the pest near Detroit, Mich., in 2002, it has killed more than 25 million ash trees.
The beetle often is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include thinning and yellowing leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots.
According to the IDOA, forty-one Illinois counties currently are under quarantine to prevent the artificial or “human-assisted” spread of the beetle through the movement of infested wood and nursery stock. A new, amended quarantine that includes Jo Daviess County soon will soon be put in place, but not until after IDOA has finished inspecting monitoring traps that were placed in the state this year to track the beetle. The quarantine prohibits the removal of the following items:
· The emerald ash borer in any living stage of development.
· Ash trees of any size.
· Ash limbs and branches.
· Any cut, non-coniferous firewood.
· Bark from ash trees and wood chips larger than one inch from ash trees.
· Ash logs and lumber with either the bark or the outer one-inch of sapwood, or both, attached.
· Any item made from or containing the wood of the ash tree that is capable of spreading the emerald ash borer.
· Any other article, product or means of conveyance determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to present a risk of spreading the beetle infestation.
The counties under quarantine are Boone, Bureau, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cook, Cumberland, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Marion, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Piatt, Putnam, Shelby, Stark, Vermilion, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.
Anyone who suspects an ash tree has been infested should contact their county Extension office. The Illinois Department of Ag also has a website devoted to EAB at: http://www.agr.state.il.us/eab/. This website provides the most up to date EAB news and offers many informational factsheets and additional websites. The master gardeners at your local Extension office are also trained and ready to answer any questions that homeowners may have.