Emerald ash borer found in Tazewell, Peoria counties

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

SPRINGFIELD — The emerald ash borer, a destructive pest responsible for killing millions of ash trees in North America, has been confirmed in Peoria and Tazewell counties.    

The Illinois Department of Agriculture on Friday announced the detections occurred in residential areas of the two central Illinois counties. 

Arborists discovered the beetle in Peoria County first near Dunlap and then subsequently in Peoria. 

In Tazewell, IDOA staff made the find in Minier using surveillance traps.      

“These finds are significant because they occurred outside the boundaries of the state quarantine that was established to prevent the spread of the beetle,” Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs, said. “Until now, all the new infestations this year — in Carroll, Stephenson and Vermilion counties — were within the quarantine area and, therefore, didn’t require any boundary changes.”

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. Since the first detection of the pest near Detroit, Mich., in 2002, it has killed an estimated 250 million ash trees. 

The quarantine currently covers 49 Illinois counties including neighboring counties of Livingston, McLean and Woodford. The quarantine is intended to prevent the artificial or “human-assisted” spread of the beetle through the movement of potentially-infested wood and nursery stock, including ash trees, limbs and branches as well as all types of firewood. 

“Although the boundaries officially haven’t been redrawn, I’d encourage residents of these two counties to put the quarantine guidelines into practice by making sure not to transport any firewood or untreated wood products outside their county of origin,” Goetsch said. “I’d also encourage them to identify the trees on their property and, if ash are present, be proactive in managing them through treatment or removal. Tree companies, villages and cities should familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations pertaining to the processing and transporting of ash materials.” 

The emerald ash borer often is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include 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 Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

For further information about the beetle, visit www.IllinoisEAB.com on the internet.