|By CINDY LADAGE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Northern Illinois has been under attack by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) since mid-summer, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has expanded efforts to quarantine the tree-killing beetle.
According to IDOA, the beetle, a native of Asia, has killed more than 20 million ash trees since arriving in North America in 2002. Besides Illinois, infestations have been confirmed in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland and Ontario, Canada. EAB had previously been detected in Illinois’ Kane and Cook counties. It was first confirmed in Kane County on June 9, then discovered in Wilmette on July 13. The neighboring communities of Evanston and Winnetka found EAB shortly thereafter.
The quarantine existing in the two counties encompasses 115 square miles. More space has now been added to this coverage.
“The quarantine was expanded to prevent the most common cause of the beetle’s spread – the inadvertent movement of infested wood products,” said IDOA Director Chuck Hartke.
“It prohibits the removal of such items as ash trees, ash limbs and branches, ash logs and lumber and ash wood chips larger than one inch in diameter from the quarantine area without a permit.”
The latest quarantine expansion in Cook County was based on results of a recently completed ash tree survey. This began after EAB was confirmed in Wilmette, Ill.
The IDOA said a second, more comprehensive, bark-stripping survey was initiated to verify the extent of the infestation and guide decisions on how to control the small, metallic-green beetle.
The survey involves the removal of approximately 500 ash trees in and around the quarantine area. Workers then strip away their bark and examine them for beetle larvae, which can feast on a tree for several years before it shows visible signs of distress.
“While the survey proceeds, the department will contact municipalities and businesses that handle wood products to inform them of the quarantine and sign compliance agreements, explained Warren Goetsch, IDOA Division Manager of Natural Resources.
“These agreements will help ensure the quarantine is followed and no potentially contaminated products are transported outside the area.”
For those who don’t comply with the agreements, there are consequences. Anyone convicted of removing prohibited items from the quarantine area without a permit may be fined up to $500. For details, call Jeff Squibb of the IDOA at 217-558-1546.
This farm news was published in the Nov. 15, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.