Local News

A destructive pest that feasts on ash trees has been confirmed in two new Illinois counties. The emerald ash borer (EAB) recently was discovered just north of Salem in Marion County and at the Green Creek Rest Area on Interstate 57 in Effingham County. The beetle now has been confirmed in 20 counties in Illinois, with the latest detections being the first time the insect has been located in southern Illinois.

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 ash tree canopy.

Currently, there are 25 counties in the northeastern and central part of the state included in an EAB quarantine issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to prevent the “man-made” spread of the beetle; however, Marion and Effingham counties are not within those quarantine boundaries.

“With these latest finds, the quarantine boundaries will need to be adjusted. However, changes will not be made until all the purple traps that were placed throughout the state to monitor the movement of the beetle have been harvested and analyzed,” Warren Goetsch, IDOA bureau chief of Environmental Programs, said. “EAB is a sneaky traveler, which is why it is important that everyone, even those counties not currently inside the quarantine zone, put the quarantine guidelines into practice by keeping all firewood and untreated wood products from movement outside of its county of origin.”

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