"These finds are significant because they occurred outside the boundaries of the state quarantine that was established to prevent the spread of the beetle," Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs, said. "Until now, all the new infestations this year - in Carroll, Stephenson and Vermilion counties - were within the quarantine area and, therefore, didn't require any boundary changes."
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 an estimated 250 million ash trees.
The quarantine currently includes 49 Illinois counties and is intended to prevent the artificial or "human-assisted" spread of the beetle through the movement of potentially-infested wood and nursery stock, including ash trees, limbs and branches as well as all types of firewood.
"Although the boundaries officially haven't been redrawn, I'd encourage residents of these two 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," Goetsch said. "I'd also encourage them to identify the trees on their property and, if ash are present, be proactive in managing them through treatment or removal. 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 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.
University of Illinois Extension has a handy checklist that can be used for identifying the tree and determining if EAB is present. The checklist is available for downloading at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt. The document is also available from local U of I Extension offices. Due to the volume of contacts, U of I Extension will not conduct site visits.
For further information about the beetle, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com.