Chicago is currently at war. You may not realize it, but the city is on high alert and battling an invasive species that is a stealthy opponent: the emerald ash borer.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an exotic beetle originally from Asia that was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since then it has spread to many other states and is wreaking havoc on the ash tree population. True to its name, adults are either bright metallic green or dark green with copper hues and a bright red upper abdomen. Also true to its name, its larvae feed under the bark and sapwood of the ash tree, killing branches and eventually entire trees. EAB is responsible for killing over 30 million trees in the northeast United States and Canada.
EAB eggs are deposited between bark crevices, flakes, or cracks, and hatch about two weeks later. After hatching, larvae chew through the bark where they then feed and develop. Typically larvae will overwinter for at least one season, sometimes two, before emerging the following spring. Once full-grown, adult insects will chew D-shaped exit holes through the bark.
Ash trees make up approximately 17% of the street tree population of Chicago (about 85,000 trees). Combine this with the 300,000+ private property ash trees, and ash trees are one of the most common trees found in Chicago. This means the emerald ash borer is a great threat to trees in and surrounding the Chicago area. The city has hired and specially trained specialists to implement a multi-year plan to slow the progression of the EAB infestation and protect our trees.
If an infestation is found, trees may need to be removed. Sometimes the trees can be harvested for lumber or firewood, but sometimes even firewood that has been infected with EAB must be quarantined.
In the coming months, please report any EAB infestations to the Beetle Hotline at 312.74BEETL or 312-742-3385. If you suspect any of your trees have been infested by emerald ash borers but you’re not certain, let our highly-trained professionals at Pointe Pest Control assess the situation. Together we can protect the tree population in our beautiful city and neighborhoods.