Jefferson County has become the 16th county in Wisconsin to be put under quarantine because of the emerald ash borer invasion.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said in a news release that the tree-killing insect was found just inside Walworth County across the Jefferson-Walworth County line, so along with other signs of the bug in Jefferson County, the ash borer quarantine was extended to Jefferson County.
The quarantine means wood products can't be moved out of Jefferson County to areas that are not infested yet.
For residents, it means you can't take firewood from your home in Jefferson County to non-infested areas, and for businesses handling wood that could be carrying the bug, those businesses have to work with DATCP to assure their products are pest-free before shipping.
The emerald ash borer has been responsible for killing millions of ash trees, first discovered in this country about 10 years ago, most likely coming to America in packing material.
The 16 counties quarantined include Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.
"The insects spread naturally at a slow rate, but we are taking steps (through the quarantine) to try to prevent humans from speeding up that spread, or allowing the emerald ash borer to leapfrog to new areas by being carried on firewood or other products," said DATCP's Brian Kuhn.
The Jefferson County bug was discovered on July 1, when a DATCP specialist working with the UW-Whitewater grounds crew removed a tree on the Jefferson County side of the campus.
No insects were found but the tree did show tunneling under the bark and D-shaped holes in the bark, indicators for evidence of the emerald ash borer.