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Ash Borers Found At Arboretum

An Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. (James Zablotny/USDA Photo)

An Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. (James Zablotny/USDA Photo)

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LISLE, Ill. (STMW) - Staff at The Morton Arboretum in west suburban Lisle discovered emerald ash borers, but they’re not panicking.

The borers were found in four ash trees called “trap trees,” which are specifically selected to monitor the area for the borers’ presence, arboretum officials said. State officials later verified the finds. The trees were at three Arboretum locations, all in non-public areas.

“We’ve been expecting to find EAB here and are fully prepared for it,” says Kris Bachtell, arboretum vice president of collections and facilities, who noted that EAB had earlier been found in several communities surrounding the Lisle tree museum.

The borers have killed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada, arboretum officials say. There are an estimated 130 million ash trees in Illinois, and the arboretum has approximately 9,000 ash among its hundreds of thousands of trees and other plants.

Arboretum officials removed the infested trees, and staff will continue to monitor for any additional signs of the insect. Also, the arboretum has been reproducing almost three dozen ash trees considered to be of high value because of their genetic rarity or other factors, growing the specimens in Arboretum nurseries to safeguard them from EAB.

Additionally, arboretum experts conduct insecticidal research on 29 trees with landscape or genetic importance in the Arboretum Ash Collection, and on trees offsite.

Arboretum staff says if homeowners are considering treating their trees with insecticide, they recommend they learn the facts and make an informed choice based upon their particular circumstances. The website, www.mortonarb.org, carries a fact sheet on insecticides that will help homeowners consider the options.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)