Spring is in the air, and with it comes the annual arrival of a variety of tree pests. Prevention, prompt identification and proper treatment are critical to maintaining tree health, and arborists should be vigilant about inspecting trees for some of the most threatening invasive insects.

The dreaded emerald ash borer has been discovered in yet another new location, Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. An infected tree was discovered about half a mile south of Glendale Heights, where EAB were discovered a few years ago. Wheaton had already implemented an ash reduction program, and had removed 400 trees in poor condition since 2008. Since discovering the infested trees, crews inspected all ash trees within a half-mile radius, finding two more infested trees. All three infested trees have been removed.

In Lino Lakes, Illinois, the city council declared trees infested with EAB to be a public nuisance, and created a city ordinance that would allow inspectors to test trees on residential lots to determine if the trees should be removed. Lino Lakes Environmental Director Marty Asleson predicts that all of the city’s trees may be killed in 5 to 10 years if no preventative action is taken. He is currently considering the option of free disposal sites for homeowners.

In other invasive species news, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service used imidacloprid injections on 39,195 trees susceptible to Asian longhorned beetle in New York. The treatments are a component of the area’s eradication strategy, aimed at preventing further infestation and reducing pest populations.

This month, our Tree Health column focuses on pests of pines and conifers. With any pest, from emerald ash borer to the less-destructive bagworm, detection and proper treatment are critical to preserving the health of the tree. Perform inspections regularly, train your employees to be vigilant about this practice, and educate your clients about what to look for. The more people on the lookout for these potentially damaging pests, the better.