Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Chenoa

EAB becomes Chenoa problem
By Erich Murphy, Managing Editor, Pontiac Daily Leader

Mark Cinnamon of the Department of Agriculture spoke to an audience about the Emerald Ash Borer at Monday’s Chenoa City Council meeting. Cinnamon said the EAB has made its way to Chenoa, which is not a good thing for the Ash trees in the area.

CHENOA — Residents of Chenoa beware, the Emerald Ash Borer has come to town. Such was the news Mark Cinnamon told a crowded City Council chamber Monday at the council's meeting.

Just how big a deal is this? According to Cinnamon, it WILL be devastating.

Cinnamon, a state plant regulatory officer for the Department of Agriculture based in DeKalb, called the EAB "the most insidious pest not native to North America that has attacked the Midwest forests in the last century."

He said nothing was known about the pest when it was first discovered in North America in July 2002. It was first found in the Detroit metropolitan area, including near Windsor, Ont., in Canada. Cinnamon said it is believed that the EAB had been there since 1991.

"I went to Michigan in late August and September of 2002 to help with their initial survey," Cinnamon said. "What I saw was shocking. Most of the Ash were dead or almost dead."

Part of the problem with the EAB is how fast it spreads. Cinnamon said the EAB can fly more than eight miles in a week. Also, it reproduces quite heavily.

According to Cinnamon, the EAB female will lay 60-90 eggs a year. His estimate was that, if half are female and they all survive, there could millions in just a short time.

As for what the Emerald Ash Borer does, Cinnamon said it basically eats, reproduces, moves on and dies. The devastation comes from not having a known enemy and not being able to eradicate it through pesticides until recently. And even with the development of a pesticide that can kill the EAB, it does not kill them all.

Emerald Ash Borers were first found in Illinois near St. Charles in Kane County in June 2006. Cinnamon said when he was part of a group that went back to Michigan to find out what happened there in order to under stand what to expect in Illinois.

"I was stunned," Cinnamon said of what he found in Michigan. "All the Ash were dead. It was shocking."

What this means for Illinois is the same can be expected.

"It was the worst nightmare to find it in Illinois," Cinnamon said.

It is now all over the Chicago metro area and has been found in most of northern Illinois and is making its way south.

The problem Chenoa is facing is that the Emerald Ash Borer has reached the community. It was first discovered in the Bloomington area, and, according to Cinnamon, tests were done in a 25-mile radius.

This included placement of traps, similar to one that is at Pontiac Township High School. Two traps were placed in the Chenoa area and one was found to have no Emerald Ash Borers in it.

The other had 43.

Cinnamon said tests have shown that there are infested trees through the city and he feels that all the Ash trees in the community will die in the next few years. Emerald Ash Borers only attack Ash trees.

One of the ways to tell if a tree has been infested with EAB is the exit hole. It is a "D" shaped hole about 1/8-inch wide.

Cinnamon said his suggestion to the city and residents is to not plant too many of one particular tree.

Cinnamon also said that a meeting is planned for Sept. 4 in Chenoa to look more closely at the EAB situation and to try to inform leaders from area communities of the issues surrounding the Emerald Ash Borer.


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