The Illinois Department of Agriculture has added 14 counties and part of two others to its emerald ash borer quarantine.
The expansion became necessary after the tree-killing beetle was detected this summer in four new counties. Traps placed throughout the state to track the spread of the beetle captured its presence in DeWitt, Marion and Stark counties. Alert IDOA staff spotted the fourth infestation, in Effingham County, while traveling to Marion County to investigate the discovery there.
"This is the eighth and largest amendment to the original EAB quarantine that was enacted after the beetle was discovered here in 2006," says Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs. "The boundary expansion is so significant because two of the detections this summer were in southern Illinois nearly 125 miles from the closest, previously- known infestations."
In addition to DeWitt, Marion, Stark and Effingham, the counties added to the quarantine in their entirety are Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Fayette, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt and Shelby. Portions of Bureau and Marshall counties not previously included in the quarantine also were added, bringing the number of impacted counties in northern, central and south-central Illinois to 39.
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 from quarantined areas:
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 IDOA to present a risk of spreading the beetle infestation.
The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia. It does not pose any direct risk to public health, but does threaten the ash tree population. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. Since the beetle 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. How it 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.
Other counties under quarantine are Boone, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, McLean, Ogle, Putnam, Vermilion, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.