The emerald ash borer that's buzzed around the Fox Valley for years and destroyed ash trees wherever it goes, has finally landed in Carpentersville, officials confirmed this week.
Authorities are taking steps to limit the shiny green beetle's impact by cutting off a portion of its food supply, said Sean McGovern, an assistant to the director of public works who has been handling the village's ash borer issues.
This summer, the public works department started running an ongoing inventory on ash trees in public spaces, which found that so far, roughly 400 of them have become a feast for the ash borer, McGovern said.
Approximately 20 percent of those infected trees are either dead or close to dying. The diseased trees are all over the village, not just in one specific location. This fall, streets department employees will remove as many of those trees as they can themselves -- those trees scheduled to be uprooted have a telltale white ring painted around them.
The goal is to complete the project this year, but weather and availability of workers may extend it into 2012, McGovern said. Experts may also need to step in and help remove others.
"Every tree is different," McGovern said. "It depends on how big the tree is, how old it is" or if it's in danger of falling on a house or power line.
Ever since the ash borer was first spotted in northern Illinois in 2006, "The Green Menace" has been found in more than 100 communities in the state. Emerging adults form D-shaped holes in diseased trees after laying dormant during the winter. The pest develops from wormlike larva that robs the trees of its nutrients.
Dead branches at the tops of trees and increased woodpecker activity are signs of ash borer infestation.
Meanwhile, a tree replacement plan in Carpentersville is essentially a pipe dream for the cash-strapped village.
"At this point, we don't have money budgeted for new trees," Village President Ed Ritter said. "To be honest, we don't know what we're going to do because to try and replace the hundreds and hundreds of trees is almost cost prohibitive for the village."