SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has added Ford and Iroquois counties to its emerald ash borer quarantine.
The expansion became necessary after the discovery of the destructive beetle outside the boundaries of the former quarantine in March. The detection was made in Iroquois County north of Loda at a highway rest area along Interstate 57.
“EAB hasn’t been confirmed in Ford County,” Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs, said. “It was included in the quarantine because it’s situated between known infestations in Iroquois County to the east and McLean County to the west.”
With the addition of Ford and Iroquois, all or parts of 23 counties in northern and central Illinois now are under quarantine. The quarantine is intended to prevent the artificial spread of the beetle through the movement of infested wood and nursery stock. Specifically, it 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 one inch from ash trees.
• Ash logs and lumber with either the bark or the outer one-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 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, 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 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. Anyone who suspects an ash tree has been infested should contact their county Extension office, their village forester or the IDOA.
EAB was first confirmed in Illinois in Kane County in 2006. How the emerald ash borer arrived in the state is unknown, but the IDOA suspects it was transported here in contaminated firewood. To prevent future such occurrences, the department encourages Illinoisans to purchase only locally-grown nursery stock and locally-cut firewood.
The full quarantine order and detailed information about the EAB program can be accessed on the internet at www.IllinoisEAB.com.