Emerald Ash Borer Spreads in Will County

Invasive insect can devastate forests

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Iowa State University
    The emerald ash borer has devastated trees in the Midwest, and continues to spread to other parts of the country.

    The southwest suburban village of Shorewood soon will be added to a list of 10 areas in Will County with confirmed infestations of the emerald ash borer.

    Trustee Dan Anderson announced during Tuesday’s village board meeting that testing for the presence of the bug has resulted in a couple of confirmations.

    The village now will report its findings and be added to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s list of confirmed locations.

    According to the department’s listing last updated Oct. 5, the insect has been confirmed in Will County in: Bolingbrook, Frankfort, Jackson Township, Joliet, Manhattan, Monee, Naperville, New Lenox, Peotone Township and Plainfield.

    "We’re now part of the problem," Anderson said.

    The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that feeds on the inner bark of ash trees, effectively preventing the tree from transporting water and nutrients.

    If the bug is not addressed, it has the potential to wipe out the entire ash tree species.

    Village staff has been working to address the beetle by both treating and inventorying trees.

    Nearly 30 percent of the village’s trees are ash trees.

    Mayor Richard Chapman thanked village staff for preemptively educating itself on the bug and treatment for it.

    "We’re in a position now to take care of this," he said.

    While the village will address and treat ash trees on public property, residents are responsible for any trees on their property. Anderson said he would strongly encourage anyone with an ash tree to call an arborist to evaluate or treat the tree.

    "It’s a lot cheaper to treat a tree than to replace a tree," he said.

    Residents who confirm the borer’s presence on their trees also should notify the village of their finding.

    The village has additional information about the bug and arborist referrals on its Web site.