Emerald ash borers found in Beloit

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Frank Schultz
Friday, April 26, 2013

— Emerald ash borers have been found in Beloit for the first time. State officials confirmed the infestation Wednesday.

City workers removing a tree from a terrace discovered it was infested, according to a city of Beloit news release.

The tree-killing beetles were first discovered last year in Rock County, in Janesville. Another infestation was later found in Clinton.

"We imagine that we will identify additional trees in the future," said Beth Jacobsen, assistant to the Beloit city manager, in an email.

The homeowner where the tree was found will keep it and burn it for heat, said Chris Walsh, operations director for the city's public works department.

The city expects to find more infested trees and has set aside a marshalling yard to store them, Walsh said.

The city also has received a Focus on Energy grant and plans to install wood-burning stoves in the garages of two public works buildings as a way of disposing of trees while saving money on heating, he said.

Rock County is under a quarantine that forbids the transportation of all hardwood firewood and ash products such as timber, pallets, mulch, tree trimmings and ash nursery stock.

Also under quarantine are Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

The crew that discovered the borers noticed the 8-inch, D-shaped holes in the bark, woodpecker damage and split bark. The woodpecker damage and split bark could come from a variety of pests or other causes, but the tiny holes shaped like capital D's are exclusive to ash borers.

Ash borers are insects from Asia first discovered in the United States in 2002, in Michigan. They are responsible for destroying millions of ash trees since then. The beetles' larvae live under the bark, feeding on the inner bark until they emerge as beetles in the spring.

The city of Beloit advised residents with concerns to consult a local professional arborist or tree-care specialist or call the public works department at 608-364-2929.

Chemicals available to homeowners from garden centers and hardware stores will combat the pests. Professional treatments also are available. Tree-care professionals can assess a tree and offer advice on whether it is worth treatments.

For information about emerald ash borer online, visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov.

Last updated: 10:32 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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