The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an exotic beetle from Asia that was discovered feeding on ash (Fraxinus sp.) trees in southeastern Michigan in 2002. EAB is responsible for killing over 20 million trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, and Canada. Beetle larvae feed under the bark and outer sapwood of the ash tree, producing galleries that eventually kill branches and entire trees.
In Chicago, ash makes up around 19% of the City’s street tree population or about 97,000 trees. When adding an estimated 500,000 ash trees from private property to the total, ash trees become one of the most numerous trees in the City.
In an effort to prevent EAB from being introduced to Chicago, the Bureau of Forestry prohibited the planting of ash on the public right-of-way beginning in 2003. Since that time, EAB has been identified in Kane and Northern Cook Counties. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) is the regulatory agency managing Illinois’ EAB Program. The IDA has issued quarantines, prohibiting ash wood and nursery stock from being transported out of the infested areas. Also, the US Department of Agriculture has quarantined Illinois and other affected states, meaning unprocessed ash products may not be transported across state lines unless under a compliance agreement. So if you are going camping, don’t move any firewood, obtain it locally!
The Bureau of Forestry is currently surveying ash trees in search for the EAB. If you suspect you have emerald ash borer please call 311 or the beetle hotline, 312-74BEETL (312-742-3385).