The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced that the State will no longer restrict the movement of any cut, non-coniferous firewood within the state. Illinois joins Missouri, Iowa, and Kentucky in the deregulation of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The decision is not because the Emerald Ash Borer has gone away, but rather because it has spread too far to regulate.
The 2015 survey of traps detected EAB in 10 new counties in Illinois, including Wayne, Clay, Jefferson, and Bond. The addition of 10 new counties has brought the total count of confirmed counties to 60.
“The survey results this year support deregulation with nearly 60 percent of our counties confirmed positive for EAB,” said Plant and Pesticide Specialist Supervisor Scott Schirmer. “Over the past decade, the regulations and quarantines have served their purpose to slow the rate of spread and afford people time to manage for this pest. However, there comes a time when the pest is too widespread to continue to regulate, and this is our time.”
Previously EAB presence was confirmed in 50 counties, but 61 of Illinois’ 102 counties were under a state quarantine, which was intended to prevent artificial or human assisted spread of the beetle.
“Even though the state of Illinois is lifting its in-state EAB quarantine, I urge all Illinoisans to remain vigilant against the man-assisted spread of not only this pest, but all invasive species,” said Acting Agriculture Director Warren Goetsch. “Illinois will remain part of a federal quarantine, meaning firewood or other ash related products cannot travel into a state that currently has regulations.”
Since the first detection of the pest near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002, the beetle has killed more than 250 million ash trees. The borer, known for its distinctive, metallic green wing color, is native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. The tiny beetle often is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include thinning and yellowing of leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots. Each year Illinois Department of Agriculture officials submit samples from various purple EAB traps throughout the state and send them to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to confirm the presence of EAB.