GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) — Far north suburban Gurnee is taking on the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale reports, the Village of Gurnee began this week to protect thousands of ash trees with a cutting edge tree trunk injection treatment.

Gurnee has more than 3,000 ash trees. At one time, the village was considering removing the ash trees, but opted to save them instead.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale reports

Each trunk injection with the insecticide, called Tree-age, protects trees against destructive insects for a minimum of two years.

The tree trunk injections are made directly into a tree’s vascular system and are encapsulated within it. They do not impact surrounding areas, people, plants or beneficial insects, but only kill insects that feed directly on an immunized tree.

The emerald ash borer has been a plague in much of the Chicago area for several years.

In April, public works crews in Vernon Hills had to begin cutting down more than 60 trees due to an infestation that a village official deemed a “natural disaster.”

Also in April, Park Ridge officials said between 50 and 60 ash trees would have to be cut down, and 100 more could be eliminated by the end of 2011 due to the pest.

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. The ash borer has also been seen in Ohio, northern Indiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the U.S. Forest Service says.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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