BARRINGTON, Ill. (STMW) – Holiday lights aren’t the only thing inhabiting Barrington trees as December approaches. Emerald ash borer beetles were recently discovered in two ash trees in the village.

Barrington Public Works and Illinois Department of Agriculture officials discovered the two infested trees on public property on the 100 block of Monument Avenue during routine tree maintenance checks last week.

It is the first documented infestation of the ash borer in Barrington, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The beetle is native to Asia and its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die.

“Our staff and tree maintenance contractor have been, and will continue to inspect ash trees during routine maintenance operations. Unfortunately, (emerald ash borer) is all around us; it was only a matter of time before it was discovered in our community,” Dennis Burmeister, Barrington’s director of public works said in a statement released by the village.

The ash borer was first discovered in the midwest in 2002, according to state officials. The beetle was found in Kane County in June 2006 and since then has been found in Barrington Hills, Algonquin and Palatine, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture website.

The ash borer does not pose a health risk for humans but is a major threat to the local ash tree population.

In an effort to protect against the beetle, Barrington banned the planting of ash trees in 2004. But prior to that many ash trees were planted on the village’s parkways and on private property because they were inexpensive and tolerant of local soil and climate conditions, the village press release stated.

Residents who believe an ash tree to be infested should contact the Barrington Public Works Department immediately by calling the village at (847) 304-3400.

–Pioneer Press, via the Sun-Times Media Wire