Beetle juiced: Ash borer boxes the state

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published September 1, 2006  | September 2006 issue

State officials got bad news recently when they found out that not one, but two neighboring states have had outbreaks of the emerald ash borer beetle, exposing the state to a potential outbreak from the north and south.

The bug recently jumped the bridge between lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Shortly thereafter, Illinois experienced its own outbreak, likely coming from Ohio or Indiana. For now, all states involved have enacted quarantines on the export of any ash wood, particularly firewood brought by vacationers.

Some state officials believe the beetle is likely already in the state, but not yet detected, and any in-state beetle confirmations would be met with removal of all ash trees within a half-mile of the infestation. Any outbreak could hit the state—including cities—hard. It's estimated that nearly one-third of trees in Wisconsin communities are ash varieties.

Ronald A. Wirtz