FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH PROCLAIMS APRIL 21, 2005 ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE AWARENESS DAY
Chicago city leaders and residents along with local and federal government agencies recognized for efforts to rid Illinois of invasive pest as Agriculture Department lifts Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine zones in DuPage and Cook counties

CHICAGO – Illinois Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke today presented a proclamation issued by Governor Rod Blagojevich to Chicago Commissioner Al Sanchez recognizing April 21, 2005 Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Awareness Day. The proclamation was given as part of a signing ceremony to deregulate ALB quarantine zones in DuPage and Cook counties. The ceremony was held at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 4300 North Winchester, in Chicago’s Ravenswood district, the area where the ALB was first detected in Illinois in 1998.

“Today, we’re taking a giant step toward the eradication of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in Illinois,” Hartke said. “This effort would not be possible without the tremendous efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the City of Chicago Department Streets and Sanitation’s Bureau of Forestry as we have worked together to detect and control the beetle.”

The quarantine lifted on areas including Ravenswood, Kilbourne Park, Park Ridge, Bensenville and Loyola indicate that there has not been an ALB sighting in those districts in at least two years. This action reduces the ALB regulated areas in Illinois from approximately 35–square–miles to nine–square–miles, covering the area around Chicago’s Oz Park, where three infested trees were detected in 2003. The Oz Park quarantine zone is bordered by Addison Street to the north, Damen Avenue to the west, Chicago Avenue to the south and Lake Michigan to the east.

The lifting of these quarantines permits the free movement of potential beetle host materials, including firewood, lumber and nursery stock. Trees in the former quarantine areas will continue to be inspected annually.

“While deregulation of the ALB quarantine zones in Cook and DuPage counties is a great sign that our efforts to depopulate the beetle are effective, we cannot let up on our surveillance and outreach efforts,” said Christine Markham, National ALB Program Director,- - - USDA.USDA-APHIS “The citizens of the state have greatly assisted government agencies by diligently reporting beetle sightings as well as suspected beetle tree damage which has lead to the successful detection and control of this pest and we ask them to continue to watch out for and report signs of infestation.”Trees in the former quarantine areas will continue to be inspected annually, Restrictions will still apply to the quarantine area around Chicago’s Oz Park, which is bordered by Addison Street to the north, Damen Avenue to the west, Chicago Avenue to the south and Lake Michigan to the east.

Since initial detection of the ALB on June 13 of 1998, 1,770 infested trees have been found and removed from northeastern Illinois and over 2,682 non-host trees have been replanted. More than 91,644 trees were treated in 2004 with insecticide as a protective measure against potential infestation development.

“We once had thousands of Asian Longhorned Beetle sightings, but we've had none for some time and have brought the problem under control thanks to an aggressive coordinated response by our crews and our state and federal partners in this effort," said Chicago Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez. "While we are pleased at the progress we have made, we will continue remain vigilant and ask the public to keep their eyes open and let us know immediately if they should see any signs of this pest in the future.”

The Asian Longhorned Beetle has distinctive white spots on its back and ringed antennae that are nearly as long as its body long antennae that are banded with black and white. It typically grows up to two inches long about 1 to 1.5 inches long and prefers to dine on hardwood trees such as maples and elms. Telltale signs of possible beetle activity include three-eighths if an inch in diameter perfectly round exitdime-sized holes in a tree’s trunk or a pile of wood shavings at its base or on its branches.

Beetle sightings should be reported to the toll-free beetle hotline at 1-800-641-3934.

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