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Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Illinois Department of Agriculture quarantined a 51 square mile area of Kane County today in an attempt to prevent the spread of the tree-killing emerald ash borer.
The quarantine was established after declaring trees infested with the small, metallic-green beetle a public nuisance. Together, the regulatory actions give the department the authority needed to begin containing the pest, which has devoured more than 20 million ash trees since it was first confirmed in the United States in the summer of 2002.
The quarantine encompasses property within a 3 ½ mile radius of the initial detection site east of Lily Lake in The Windings subdivision.
"An adult beetle is capable of flying half a mile per year, so the boundaries effectively represent seven years of possible migration from the detection site," Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "Considering the Kane County infestation is approximately three-to-five years old and no beetles have been found more than half a mile from the detection site, the department believes the quarantine is sufficient to prevent the pest from spreading."
The Kane County quarantine officially is bounded on the north by McDonald Road from one mile west of the western boundary of Plato Township to the eastern boundary of Plato Township; on the east by the Plato Township eastern boundary from McDonald Road south along the Campton Township eastern boundary and the Blackberry Township eastern boundary to Keslinger Road; on the south by Keslinger Road from the Blackberry Township eastern boundary to a point one mile west of the Blackberry Township western boundary; and on the west by a straight line from one mile west of the intersection of the Blackberry Township western boundary and Keslinger Road to the intersection of McDonald Road.
It prohibits the removal of the following items from the area:
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 determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to present a risk of spreading the beetle infestation.
Anyone convicted of moving prohibited items from the quarantine area without prior certification by an Illinois Department of Agriculture nursery inspector may be fined up to $500.
The emerald ash borer was confirmed in Illinois June 9 after a homeowner discovered a beetle in a dying ash tree and submitted the bug to the United States Department of Agriculture for examination. An inspection of the neighborhood identified 20 other infested trees.
A second infestation was detected July 12 in the Cook County village of Wilmette. A survey has begun to determine the extent of the damage, but a preliminary inspection found 16 infested trees within a five-block area.
The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect. Signs of infestation include the presence of half-inch long, metallic-green beetles 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 a tree. Anyone who suspects a tree has been infested is urged to call a local arborist, their county Extension office or the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 1-800-641-3934.
By declaring a public nuisance, the department now has the ability to remove beetle-infested trees, which, in most instances, is the only treatment option.
"The last thing we want to do right now, however, is disturb the beetles' environment," IDOA division manager of Natural Resources Warren Goetsch said. "The emerald ash borer is in the midst of its flight season, and removing host trees might cause the pest to travel to new areas. The best approach is to wait until after the adult beetles die in August and then remove trees infested with their eggs and larvae this fall."
Under the Illinois Insect Pest and Plant Disease Act, homeowners are responsible for the cost of tree removal, but the department is trying to obtain public funds to pay these expenses. A grant proposal has been submitted to the United State Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The emerald ash borer poses no risk to public health. Inspectors have not determined how it arrived in Illinois, but suspect it may have been transported here in contaminated firewood. To avoid the accidental introduction of the beetle to new areas, Illinoisans are advised to purchase only locally grown nursery stock and locally cut firewood.