Ash Borers Put 3,000 Lake Zurich Trees at Risk

Illinois Department of Agriculture confirm larvae found in village's ash trees.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a formidable pest that can destroy Ash trees, has been discovered in Lake Zurich and North Barrington. 

A recent visit by officials from the Illinois Department of Agriculture confirmed that the EAB likely could have been present for the last ten years, but went unnoticed. 

“Public works went out with the Department of Agriculture, and we learned about one tell-tale sign; woodpeckers,” said David Heyden, director of public works.

When  woodpeckers were identified, officials went to the tree they were surrounding, took out a branch and peeled away the bark and the larvae were clearly in view, said Heyden.

Heyden said the birds feed on the EAB larvae, and chances are if Ash trees are being attacked by woodpeckers, they are most likely infected by the Emerald Ash Borer.

The pest and its larvae were discovered over the last several weeks in the Manor Subdivision and behind Kohl’s in North Barrington.

“Based on the present condition of the trees, the officials determined they (EAB) could have there for five to ten years, they can be hard to spot,” said Heyden.

The Emerald Ash Borer can fly an average of two miles, and Heyden said that basically encompasses all of Lake Zurich’s Ash trees.

There are over 3,000 Ash trees in the village that are susceptible to the beetle, and how the issue will be tackled is currently being determined by village staff.

Alternatives are to cut down all trees identified as infected, or to use pesticides to attempt to eradicate the pest, said Shawn Walkington, village arborist.   

“If trees are completely infested, they do have to come down.  If they are not totally infested, there are alternatives such as pesticides that can be injected into the tree or put into the soil surrounding it,” said Walkington.

Walkington added that the use of pesticides still will not guarantee the survival or health of infected Ash trees.

“If the tree is 50 percent gone, it cannot be saved,” Walkington cautioned.

The Village of Lake Zurich Tree Commission will be working alongside the public works department to recommend a plan to the board of trustees, said Walkington.

The Emerald Ash Borer was first discovered in Illinois in 2006, after initial discoveries of the pest in Michigan, Canada, Ohio and Maryland, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture website.

“We will be bringing forth a recommendation on how to handle this issue as soon as possible,” said Walkington.


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