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updated: 11/11/2011 8:24 AM

Counties added to tree-killing beetle quarantine

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD-- State officials say they're adding more Illinois counties to an emerald ash borer quarantine.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture says the expansion was needed because the tree-killing beetle was found in new counties. Officials announced Thursday that 14 new counties and parts of two others were added to the quarantine. The total number affected is 39.

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The emerald ash borer is a small metallic-green beetle native to Asia. Agriculture authorities say its larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients. But the insect doesn't pose any direct risk to public health.

The goal of a quarantine is to prevent the spread of the beetle, prohibits the removal ash trees, non-coniferous firewood and items made from ash tree wood, among other things.

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