University News

Contact WIU Forestry Club to Protect Ash Trees in Macomb Area from Emerald Ash Borer

October 7, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – According to Western Illinois University School of Agriculture's Paul Blome, since the discovery of Emerald ash borer (EAB) beetles in Detroit Michigan in 2002, the beetles have killed more than 45 million ash trees in the Great Lakes Region. Blome, an arboriculture and urban forestry instructor in the School of Ag, said EAB beetles are now closing in on western Illinois. As a service to the Macomb area community and to raise funds for activities, the WIU Forestry Club will begin treating ash trees this fall to protect them from EAB.

"Ash trees must be preventively treated to protect them against this exotic, invasive fatal pest," Blome said. "It's not a question of 'if' EAB will get here, it's a question of 'when.' This fall will be a good time to start treatments."

President of the WIU Forestry Club Narissa Orwig (Canton, IL), a senior ag science major, noted Macomb area residents interested in protecting their ash trees and who want to support the WIU Forestry Club, can call or text (309) 569-8262 to schedule treatment(s) of their ash trees.

"Leave your name, address, phone number and indicate you are interested in EAB treatments," Orwig said. "Funds raised will be used to cover operational expenses of providing these services, and hopefully, we'll raise enough to take trips to professional seminars and conferences in the future."

According to Blome, one of the Forestry Club's goals is to provide education about EAB and proper tree care. He noted moving firewood is the primary means of spreading EAB.

"New infestations are caused by people who unknowingly moving ash firewood out of infested areas. With popular nearby camping areas, such as Argyle State Park and Spring Lake, there's a real risk of campers moving the beetles living in the firewood. There has been a great effort made to make campers aware of the threats of moving firewood. 'Buy it where you burn it' is the new catch phrase," he said. (See

Although EAB has not been discovered in Macomb yet, the closest known infestations are in Kirkwood (IL), Galesburg (IL) and Burlington (IA), Blome noted.

"EAB has already found its way past western Illinois into Iowa and Missouri," Orwig added. "The emerald ash borer beetles only attack ash trees and are not easy to detect in the early stages of infestation. It can take more than three years for the beetles to kill an ash tree. In the time EAB goes undetected, the beetles will be searching out and infesting more ash trees, expanding the infestation."

For more information or to schedule EAB treatment(s), contact Orwig at (309) 569-8262.

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