The Illinois Department of Agriculture has documented a pest that feeds on ash trees has been discovered for the first time in Lee and Henry Counties. The Emerald Ash Borer is a small beetle from Asia whose larvae burrow into the bark of ask trees, causing the tree to eventually die.
"In Lee County the beetle was discovered at an industrial site on the east side of Dixon," EAB Program Manager Scott Schirmer said in a news release. "The detection in Henry County occurred at Baker Park Golf Course in Kewanee." He adds the beetle poses no threat to public health, but is enough of a concern to put 39 Illinois counties under quarantine to prevent the spread of the pest. The quarantine prohibits the intrastate movement of potentially-contaminated wood products, including ash trees, limbs and branches and all types of firewood.
Officials say the emerald ash borer is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include the presence of metallic-green beetles about half the diameter of a penny on or around ash trees, thinning and yellowing leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots.
Since the beetle was first confirmed in the Midwest in the summer of 2002, it has killed more than 25 million ash trees. Anyone who suspects a tree may be infested is urged to contact either their county Extension office, village forester or the IDOA. For more information, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com.