Officials declare Illinois Asian beetle-free

CHICAGO "The Asian long-horned beetle has been officially eradicated in the entire state of Illinois," said Bruce Knight, US Dept. of Agriculture.

To commemorate the declaration, officials threw symbolic shovels of dirt on a newly planted tree that once might have been destroyed by the beetles.

The event was held in Ravenswood, where the bugs were first found nearly 10 years ago.

The one-and-a-half inch long insects are believed to have arrived here in packing material from China. Their larvae burrow into trees, killing them.

More than 1,700 trees were removed in the battle against the bug. The last sighting was in Chicago's Oz Park in 2003.

To prevent re-infestation, all wooden packing materials from overseas have to be specially treated.
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