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Illinois Is Throwing In The Towel On The Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 21, 2015 9:32PM

It's looking too late to limit the spread of the deadly emerald ash borer beetle in Illinois. So, the state has dropped the quarantine on the movement of firewood and ash trees, according to the Tribune.

The pesky beetle feeds on the region's ashes trees and and is spreading rapidly, 60 out of Illinois' 102 counties have been affected. Humboldt Park lost 650 trees to the insect in June.

"It kind of does seem like we're throwing in the towel," Scott Schirmer, plant and pesticide specialist supervisor for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, told the Tribune. "We've spent almost 10 years to work on this and regulate this, and I think it's slowed down the spread and bought people time. But the extent of the bug at this point tells us it's effectively time to deregulate."

The infestation really grew over the past two years with the insect affecting 27 more counties, according to Schirmer. Surrounding states including Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa have ended their quarantines, which will allow more bugs to move into our border anyway.

"Even though the state of Illinois is lifting its in-state EAB quarantine, I urge all Illinoisans to remain vigilant against the man-assisted spread of not only this pest, but all invasive species," Warren Goetsch, acting state agriculture director, said in a statement.