That doesn’t mean Wisconsin’s ash trees are safe forever, said Cliff Englert, Janesville parks department supervisor.
“We can remain at ease,” Englert said. “But no doubt there’s a very strong possibility the insect will make its way here.”
The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently completed a survey of ash trees in Rock County, including the Janesville area. No emerald ash borers were found.
Workers felled live ash trees on public property and stripped the tree bark to look for the borer larvae. The local work was part of a survey project in 17 Wisconsin counties that started in fall 2006.
The metallic-green beetles have been found as close as Kane County, Ill. The infestation has devastated parts of Michigan and spread into Ohio and Indiana. Officials suspect the insects leapfrogged into Illinois in firewood or other ash lumber.
The city of Janesville estimates the city has 25,000 ash trees.
“All of them are endangered by this insect,” according to a city news release.
The state has 727 million ash trees, and the financial impact of their loss is “nearly incalculable,” Englert said.
“The emerald ash borer has the potential for unleashing destruction that could cost us trillions in the loss of ash trees,” Englert said.
The city recommends prevention measures, including:
-- Never take firewood with you. Buy it locally and burn it all at your campsite. This is one of the primary ways the insect relocates.
-- Become familiar with the look and timing of the emerald ash borer. There are other metallic green/brown beetles that may, at first glance, look like the emerald ash borer. The “D”- shaped exit hole in the tree bark is very distinctive.
-- Plant non-ash species until further research provides treatments or resistant tree varieties.
Anyone suspecting an infestation of emerald ash borer is asked to immediately contact the state Department of Natural Resources by calling 1-800-462-2803 or e-mailing DATCPEmeraldAshBorer@wisconsin.gov.