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Homeowners Hunt For Emerald Ash Borer In Their Trees

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

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

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WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) — The weather is warming up, trees and flowers are blooming, and experts and homeowners who have ash trees remain on the hunt for trees infested with the emerald ash borer.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, many towns have had to spend thousands of dollars because of the damage done by the tree-killing insect.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

In Naperville, they’re fighting. More than $467,000 will be spent this year treating with pesticides a third of the city’s 16,000 ash trees.

The Village of Lombard has received a $20,000 grant for 60 ash trees that had to be cut down because of the tree-killing insect.

The city of Batavia has decided to cut down as many as 600 ash trees because of the pest. Deerfield will cut down more than 200 ash trees before the end of the year.

And the town of Morris recently made it against the law to plant ash trees on public property there.

Homeowners are faced with similar dilemmas. Should they cut down their non-infested ash trees and plant a new, non-ash tree now, or spend up to $200 per year having pesticides used to try to keep the emerald ash borer away?

Tom Velat, an ecologist for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District, suggests calling in a tree service that has a full-time arborist on staff to help you make your decision.

He also offered some signs that a tree in your neighborhood may be infested.

“When you look at a tree, you look up in the crown, and you see some of the top branches don’t have any leaves anymore,” he said.

Other signs include woodpecker damage, and splitting of the bark. Signs that an adult emerald ash borer has grown and flown away include a D-shaped hole in the bark of the tree.

Velat says the Emerald Ash Borer has already invaded at least a dozen DuPage forest preserves. Some trees are such remote areas, however, and Velat says the county is just going to let them stand there.

The emerald ash borer is an insect native to Asia which arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s. Ash borer larvae kill ash trees by consuming trunk bark, the U.S. Forest Service explains.

The insect was first spotted in Michigan in 2003, and since then has made its way across Illinois, including many Chicago suburbs.

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