Algonquin Emerald Ash Borer Appearance Saga Continued

I went searching for confirmation from official sources that the tree killers in Algonquin homeowner Stan Gladbach’s yard was the emerald ash borer.

When I called Jeff Coath, the United State Department of Agriculture official in charge of the Illinois Emerald Ash Borer Project, at about 3:30 yesterday, all I could do was leave a message.

He returned my call while I was at my son’s swim practice and tried again while I was picking up photos of the First United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School, so it’s not like he’s trying to avoid me.

Then I called the Algonquin Public Works Department. How was I to know they left work at 3:30?

I worked my way up to village hall, but Village Administrator Bill Ganek and his assistant were also out for the day.

I tried to find a Public Information Officer with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, but was only able to access a message machine. Finally, the Director’s Office sent me to the folks who knew what was happening.

Lesson: persistence pays off.

I made contact with Mark Cinnamon, the State Plant Regulatory Official. He took Stan Smith’s job when he retired. You may remember Smith’s name from the successful fight against the Asian longhorn beetle.

Let me tell you what Cinnamon had to say.

“We pulled out four adults that definitely look like emerald ash borers and we found a couple on the ground,” he said of his trip to Gladbach’s property Friday morning.

“There are ‘D’-shaped exit holes.”

I asked him if he would confirm the emerald ash borer was killing the trees.

“Our agreement with the USDA (which provides the grant money to pay for the state program) requires that we have a USDA identifier that is in Brighton, Michigan.

“It (the samples taken Friday) will be FedXed overnight to Brighton.”

You know the old saying,

“He who has the gold rules.”

So, the Feds want to make the announcement.

I asked about the samples that were sent in over a week ago.

“They dug them out with a knife. They cut off their heads.”

Hence, positive identification could not be made.

That got me one of the five belly laughs that people need every day to stay healthy.

“They’ve just begun emerging. In the next few days, it will be easier to find adults.”

I asked how Gladbach could get rid of his ash trees.

“They’re several options. He could burn them in a fireplace.”

I interjected that this weather didn’t make that an attractive option.

“If they’re chipped up in dimensions of less than one inch in two dimensions, all life stages will die,” he added.

Having an ash taller than our house on the property line which my parents’ neighbor Postman Walt Southern (225 Meridian Street) convinced my father not to chop down, I asked how to protect it.

He suggested something called “Tree-Age.”

‘It was just labeled for use in Illinois this spring,” Cinnamon told me. “In research trials you get control of 98% of larva.”

But, the bad news is that “the pest population builds at a minimum of 10-fold per year.

“Eventually, the pest will spread throughout the region.”

The emerald ash beetle was discovered in Illinois just two years ago, the state official explained.

“We think it’s been in Illinois since approximately 2000.

“It existed in Michigan for 10-12 years before it was found.”

Let me tell you that this interview was one of the most informative and enjoyable that I have ever had with a state employee.

More yesterday and tomorrow.

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The pictures shown were taken by property owner Stan Gladbach, who lives on the McHenry County side of the Kane-McHenry County line on the east side of the Fox River in Algonquin. The truck was parked in front of his house, along with two other vehicles Friday morning. The state, federal and village officials later held a meeting.

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