Traps set to monitor the movement of the emerald ash borer have recently detected the tree-killing beetle in two additional Illinois counties. The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced infestations have been confirmed in DeWitt and Stark counties. Both detections have occurred in rural areas. In DeWitt County, the beetle was discovered between Clinton Lake and the McLean County border. In Stark County, it was trapped near Toulon.
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 population.
The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Citizens should watch for metallic-green beetles about half the diameter of a penny on or near ash trees that are showing signs of disease or stress. Other signs of infestation in ash trees include D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and shoots growing from its base.
Since the emerald ash borer was first confirmed in the Midwest in the summer of 2002, more than 25 million ash trees have been felled by the beetle. Anyone who suspects a tree has been infested is urged to contact either their county Extension office or village forester.