Illinois Department of Agriculture
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2006
EMERALD ASH BORER CONFIRMED IN ILLINOIS
Illinois Department of Agriculture activates state response plan to
eradicate the exotic pest; urges public to learn the signs of EAB
infestation and promptly report suspected cases
GENEVA, Ill. – A destructive, non-native pest that feasts on ash trees
has been detected in northern Illinois. The Illinois Department of
Agriculture announced today that a beetle found in the yard of a Kane
County home east of Lily Lake is an emerald ash borer (EAB).
"A coalition of local, state and federal agencies, including the USDA’s
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Forest Service and
Illinois Department of Agriculture, has been preparing for this day the
past two years," Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "Now that the
emerald ash borer has been confirmed within our borders, we’ll activate
our response plan and begin the task of eradicating it. The first step
is to conduct an extensive survey of ash trees in the area to determine
the extent of damage. The findings will help establish boundaries for a
quarantine that will stop the movement of potentially contaminated wood
and nursery products out of the area and prevent the spread of this
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 tree population. Since the
emerald ash borer was first confirmed in the Midwest in the summer of
2002, more than 20 million ash trees are dead or dying.
"We’ve had tremendous success identifying invasive species through
public awareness and education," Warren Goetsch, IDOA division manager
of Natural Resources, said. "Nearly every sighting of the Asian
Long-horned beetle in Chicago was reported by a citizen. With that kind
of assistance here, I’m optimistic we can contain this pest and save ash
The homeowner discovered the beetle and alerted the Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service’s Illinois field office, which sent the bug to
its lab in Romulus, Mich., for identification and notified IDOA nursery
Inspectors visited the residence in "The Windings" subdivision where the
beetle was found and discovered several infested ash trees. They also
canvassed the neighborhood and uncovered at least six additional
infested trees within five-blocks of the residence, as well as evidence
of an infestation in an adjacent subdivision to the north.
"The diversity of the landscaping in this neighborhood will help our
eradication efforts," Goetsch added. "Only about 5 percent of the trees
are ash varieties."
Inspectors have not determined how the beetle arrived in Illinois, but
suspect it may have been transported here in contaminated firewood from
a quarantined area in Michigan. Michigan and Illinois are two of the
five states where EAB infestations have been confirmed. The others are
Indiana, Ohio and Maryland.
The emerald ash borer typically moves only short distances by flying,
but can survive long distances in transit on ash nursery stock, ash
logs, branches and firewood. To avoid the accidental introduction of the
beetle to new areas, people are advised to purchase only locally-grown
nursery stock and locally-cut firewood.
The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect 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 shoots growing from the base of the tree. Anyone who suspects a tree
has been infested is urged to first contact their county Extension
office. The Illinois Department of Agriculture also will offer a
toll-free hotline at 800-641-3934 for extension-confirmed infestations.
Options for treating infested trees are limited. In most instances, they
must be removed.
### Related Links:
Illinois Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Plan
USDA Forest Service
Copyright © 2001
State of Illinois Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 19281, State Fairgrounds
Springfield, IL 62794-9281
(217) 782-2172, (800) 273-4763, (toll free in Illinois)
Last updated: 06/13/2006 20:41:01