USDA AND ITS PARTNERS DECLARE VICTORY OVER THE ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE
Illinois is First State to Reach Eradication of the Invasive Pest
CHICAGO, April 17, 2008 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the City of Chicago today announced the official eradication of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) from Illinois. The event was held in the Ravenswood, Chicago neighborhood where the pest was found almost 10 years ago. This makes Illinois the first state fighting active ALB infestations to declare victory over the invasive insect.
"This successful eradication would not have been possible without the solid partnership between federal, state and local governments fighting ALB in Illinois," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs. "Eliminating the ALB involved the innovative use of resources, open lines of communication between government agencies and the public and a united commitment to decisive and results-oriented actions."
ALB was discovered in Illinois in the summer of 1998, and the most recent infestation was detected around Chicago's Oz Park in 2003. Since that time, extensive surveys have not found adult ALB or any signs of infestation. With at least four years of active surveys and no signs of insects or infestation uncovered, USDA and its partners now can declare ALB eradication in Illinois.
"The combination of great teamwork with our state and federal allies and the extremely strong support of Mayor Daley and our elected officials from the impacted neighborhoods made it possible for us to aggressively go after this invasive pest and eradicate the ALB from Chicago," said Deputy Commissioner Malcolm Whiteside, head of the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation's Bureau of Forestry.
Between 1998 and 2006, approximately 1,771 host trees were removed to destroy the invasive insect. In Illinois, ALB quarantine zones have existed in numerous Chicago neighborhoods, including Oz Park, Ravenswood, Kilbourn Park, Loyola, Park Ridge, O'Hare, Addison and Summit. As many as 35 square miles were quarantined for the pest in and around Chicago, with 61 square miles considered infested and surveyed for signs of beetles. The last chemical treatments took place in the Oz Park area in 2006.
"This day would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of many individuals and agencies," said Warren Goetsch, bureau chief of environmental programs for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "The federal and state governments, along with the efforts of the city of Chicago and various towns and villages, all contributed mightily to the success of this project. I encourage local residents to recognize the tremendous work put forth by these groups and join us as we celebrate the complete eradication of this pest in Illinois"
Today's eradication event took place in the same Ravenswood neighborhood where an alert citizen first discovered the ALB when he reported an unusual beetle on tree limbs in the late 1990's. More than 1,400 infested trees were removed from that area alone.
The ALB is about 1.5 inches long and shiny black with antenna up to twice the length of their bodies, banded in black and white. Host tree species that beetles favor include maple, birch, elm and poplar, among others.
USDA currently is working with its state and local government partners to eradicate ALB in parts of New York and in central New Jersey. Additional information about ALB can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov .