Small Beetles Create Big Problem

They are smaller than a penny, but they have the potential to cause a big destruction to the Naperville tree population.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an exotic beetle that first appeared in the United States in 2002 after hitching a ride from Asia inside a wooden packing crate.

The beetles soon spread across the midwest and were first discovered in Naperville in 2008.

“From 2008 to now it has really grown and it’s a tremendous problem,” says Naperville city arborist Jack Mitz. “Within our own community there are dozens of places where we found trees that are infested.”

Over 25 percent of Naperville trees are ash trees. The consequences of not treating these trees can cause a literal deforestation of Naperville parkways and lawns, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Trees that are affected will have D-shaped holes on the bark that are created by the burrowing larvae.

Residents who find the early signs still have time to save the tree by using consumer products, but waiting too long will mean the death of the tree.

“Most of the city foresters here in Chicagoland are saying people are going to be very surprised at how many trees are going to show symptoms this spring,” says Joe Chamberlin of Valent USA Corporation. “We are getting into that exponential phase.”

Recently, an outbreak of the EAB was discovered at Hobson West Ponds in Naperville causing over 30 trees to be removed.

“They are like termites,” says Naperville Resident Ed Janka. “They are here to stay and they aren’t going anywhere.” The beetles may be here to stay, but with a little help from the community as a whole, the problem can be contained and Naperville will continue to be a Tree City USA.

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