MADISON — The tree-destroying emerald ash borer has been discovered in five new Wisconsin counties, including in Chippewa County. The insect is now in the southern two-thirds of the state.

“A Lake Wissota homeowner in the town of Lafayette reported dying trees, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff collected emerald ash borer larvae, or immature insects. The infestation appears to have been present for several years,” the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Tuesday.

The agency said the bug is also now in Green Lake, Marinette, Waupaca and Waushara counties. The bug was discovered in those counties in traps put out by the USDA and the DNR.

All five counties are under quarantine orders from DATCP, meaning residents of those counties can’t take firewood into non-quarantined counties, and businesses handling wood products that could contain the bug need to work with DATCP to assure products are pest-free before shipping.

“However, many of the quarantined counties are not generally infested. This is a pest that’s largely been spread by humans,” the agency said.

The bug has now been found in every county from Buffalo County east to Door County and points south, and in Douglas, Sawyer, Chippewa, Oneida and Marinette counties in northern Wisconsin. That makes 46 out of the 72 Wisconsin counties.

DATCP said property owners should watch their ash trees for any signs of an infestation, including the thinning of the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get at the larvae underneath.

“If your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation, consider preventive treatments. Whether to treat depends on several factors; the age of the trees; the size of the trees; and the number of trees. Treatment costs vary depending on the size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional,” the agency said.

The pest is native to China and first appeared in the U.S. in Michigan in 2002. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 in Washington County.

For more information go online to http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/index.jsp

The Herald contributed to this report.

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