The emerald ash borer larva burrows under the bark of an ash tree and feeds on the phloem, the nutrient-rich part of the under-bark that carries sucrose and other nutrients from the roots up through the rest of the tree. This disrupts, and can even destroy, the ability of a tree to sustain itself.
The effects of canopy dieback
Dieback of the canopy is a direct result of this disruption and epicormic shoots (new sprouts that grow from the roots and lower trunk) are the tree’s attempt to bypass the affected areas and survive without the infested sections. Canopy dieback can change the long-standing dynamics of an isolated ecosystem. The increased sunlight that reaches the ground because of the dieback can encourage the growth of other plants, even potentially invasive ones.
If you find an insect that displays these traits, call a local Department of Natural Resources office for confirmation. Failure to do so may result in the loss of many trees in your area and the spreading of these insects to other areas. Photo courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service.
A massive loss of trees
The greatest effect of an emerald ash borer infestation, however, is the death of the ash trees themselves. In an attempt to stem the spread of the EAB and to take care of infested trees, tens of thousands of ash trees have been cut down and destroyed in Chicago and throughout the surrounding metropolitan area. Such a massive loss of trees, especially older trees, is not easily sustainable and creates an imbalance in the ecosystem.
The Emerald Ash Borer Info website, a collaborative effort among several U.S. states and Canada, is a great online resource for educational materials, reports, and information about the EAB and its effects.
The USDA 's interactive map shows the quarantine areas and buffer zones in Illinois. When looking at the map, please note that the dark bubbles signify the 8-mile buffer zone around a confirmed sighting; the medium colored bubbles signify the 16-mile buffer zone; and the light bubbles signify the 24-mile buffer zone. The red line outlines the official quarantine zone.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture maintains a detailed listing of confirmed EAB infestations in Illinois based on county, city, address, and date confirmed.