Emerald Ash Borer Found in Rock Island County

October  02, 2013

Thousands of trees in Rock Island County are now at risk. An employee of the Illinois Department of Agriculture recently discovered the Emerald Ash Borer in Hasselroth Park in Rock Island, which was confirmed last Friday.

Scott Schirmer, from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, says the pest is typically spread accidentally by people.

"There's no telling where it came from, and that's one of the challenges," said Schirmer. "We do have a quarantine in Illinois, and the fact that Rock Island County was not in that indicates that wood was not allowed, or should not have been coming into Rock Island from the quarantined counties in Illinois. But the nature of the beast with this thing is that it can be somewhere and nobody knows about it."

The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in 31 counties in Illinois, including Rock Island.  It's a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia. It was first discovered in Detroit in 2002. Since then, it has killed nearly 25 million ash trees across the country.  But Schirmer says local governments and residents must now decide which trees they want to try to save.

"If you do get an early start and you are treating these trees," said Schirmer, "That if they're healthy and you're treating them, you're going to have a much better chance. One of the few guarantees through this is that if you don't do anything, the trees are going to die. I mean all of our North American trees are considered susceptible to EAB in one way or another and to a different extent. But if nothing's done, there's no protective courses taken to help these trees along, they're ultimately going to succumb to EABS."     

Schirmer says Rock Island County is now in quarantine, which means no wood can to be transported out of the county. Scott County currently has a ban on imported firewood, after the Emerald Ash Borer was found in Burlington and Fairfield.