Naperville fights Emerald Ash borer

April 26, 2012 2:58:06 PM PDT
West suburban Naperville launched a campaign to get residents involved in the fight against the Emerald Ash borer, which will destroy millions of Chicago area trees in the next five years.

In Naperville, officials are searching for any signs of trouble. And they're asking the public to help; next week is the Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week.

"Our goal is to get to understand it and to know what the city's doing about it, and then to know what they can do with their own private trees," Christine Schwartzhoff, Naperville Public Works said.

The city is using an interactive website to explain the treatment efforts.

"If you click on tree it will show you the diameter and that it's been treated," Schwarzhoff said.

The Emerald Ash borer feeds on ash trees. No larger than a penny, the destructive beetle is responsible for the death and destruction of hundreds of trees in Naperville since 2008 and millions more around the United States. Forestry Supervisor Jack Mitz said the bug's larvae kill the trees from the inside out in two to three. They leave "D" shaped holes as the adult insects emerge.

"In Naperville, we have 16,000 ash trees, so it has a devastating effect," Mitz said. "Already we've had to remove 500 trees."

The presence of the Emerald Ash borer is easier to detect than other destructive insects, like the Asian long horned beetle, but it's also harder to stop. On Thursday, chemical treatment of many of the town's 16,000 trees began.