Chicago to Spend $2.6M to Tackle Emerald Ash Borer Infestation

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According to an article from NBC Chicago , Chicago city officials have announced a new plan to tackle the current emerald ash borer problem. Dedicating $2.6 million to the effort, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation will begin to vaccinate about 35,000 ash trees and trim another 20,000 with the goal of reducing the spread and impact of the invasive insect. The department is also training and hiring extra forestry crews in pesticide application and emerald ash borer treatment.

Here are some facts and details about the city's plan to combat the insect and the current problem that is threatening the city's ash trees:

* The Chicago Sun-Times reported that to inoculate the trees, forestry crews with inject a pesticide into the tree's tissues, which will allow the chemical to spread throughout the tree's entire system.

* By vaccinating the trees before an infestation occurs, the city will save millions of dollars in tree removal costs.

* The average cost to inoculate a tree is $46 while tree removal and replacement costs about $1,000, noted DNAinfo .

* Emamectin Benzoate is the pesticide of choice since it is 99 percent effective and has been on the market since 2009. It lasts about three years, so trees must receive a treatment booster after that time frame.

* Approximately 85,000 trees on city property are infested by the emerald ash borer. Of those, 70,000 will be treated with a pesticide by summer of 2014.

* WLS added that experts agree that tens of thousands of ash trees in Chicago will succumb to the insect, which lays eggs beneath the tree's bark. The larvae then eat their way through the essential tissues, cutting off nutrient flow.

* City workers have already marked numerous trees for treatment across the city and are expected to continue to do so to help execute the new plan.

* The amount to be spent on tree treatment and trimming in 2013 is significantly higher than last year when the city only spent $110,000.

* Ald. Dick Mell, 33rd Ward, is pushing the idea of seeking out private funds and donations to help with tree treatment: "I'd like to take this to some of the foundations, like McArthur Foundation, who are spending millions of dollars and art and everything. Well, trees are art, let's spend a little money on that to save some of the trees."

* Residents should expect tree vaccination for this year to begin in early May and continue through this September to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

* In addition, the city and non-profit organizations are trying to inform homeowners about the dangers of the invasive insect, especially infestations on private property.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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