SPRINGFIELD — A destructive pest responsible for killing millions of ash trees in North America has been discovered for the first time in Whiteside County, the closest find to date in Illinois to the Iowa border.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced today it has received confirmation that a beetle collected on the county fairgrounds in Morrison is an emerald ash borer (EAB). An alert forestry technician with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources spotted a distressed ash tree on the property and notified IDOA staff, who found a dead adult beetle in its bark. The beetle was submitted to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which confirmed it as EAB.
"We have monitoring traps throughout Whiteside and its neighboring counties," EAB program manager Scott Schirmer said. "Thus far, the infestation appears highly localized. In fact, we have not even been able to confirm EAB in any other ash trees on the property."
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. Anyone who suspects an ash tree has been infested should contact their county Extension office, their village forester or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
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. Specifically, 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 1 inch from ash trees. Ash logs and lumber with either the bark or the outer 1 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.
For further information about the beetle, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com on the internet.