Emerald Ash Borer Found in Westmoreland County; Quarantine Imposed

June 10, 2009

Campers Statewide are Urged to Stop Transporting Firewood

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Emerald Ash Borer beetles have been found in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, bringing to seven the number of counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified, Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff announced today.

The invasive beetle was first detected in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2007 in Butler County, and subsequently was found in Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer and Mifflin counties. To help slow the spread of the beetle, the state-imposed quarantine for those six counties is being expanded to include Westmoreland County.

State and federal Emerald Ash Borer quarantines restrict the movement from the quarantine area of ash nursery stock, green lumber and any other ash material, including logs, stumps, roots and branches, and all wood chips.

This summer, 20 crews — 15 in Western Pennsylvania, one in Mifflin County, and four in the eastern part of the state — and two regional coordinators have been deployed to assess the spread of the beetle. The Westmoreland County crew detected the new infestation.

“Our survey crews are assessing the extent of the infestation in Westmoreland County and surrounding areas,” said Wolff. “We remind consumers to heed the quarantine when traveling and camping this spring and summer — not just in the quarantined areas but throughout Pennsylvania — to prevent any further spread of the beetle.”

Due to the difficulty in distinguishing between species of hardwood firewood, all hardwood firewood — including ash, oak, maple and hickory — are considered quarantined.

Since many species of wood-boring insects, including the Emerald Ash Borer, can be spread by transporting infested firewood and logs, campers and homeowners are encouraged to use only locally harvested firewood, burn all of the firewood on-site, and not carry it to new locations.

Emerald Ash Borer is a wood-boring beetle native to China and eastern Asia. The pest likely arrived in North America hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer and other goods. It was first detected in July 2002 in southeastern Michigan and neighboring Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The beetle has since been blamed for the death and decline of more than 20 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois.

Typically, the beetles will kill an ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. Adults are dark green, one-half inch in length and one-eighth inch wide, and fly only from early May until September. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees. When they emerge as adults, they leave D-shaped holes in the bark about one-eighth inch wide.

There is no known practical control for this wood-boring pest other than destroying infested trees.

People who suspect they have seen Emerald Ash Borer should call the department’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-866-253-7189. For more information about the quarantine, contact Walt Blosser at 717-772-5205, and for more information about Emerald Ash Borer, contact Sven-Erik Spichiger at 717-772-5229.

Information is also available at www.agriculture.state.pa.us/emeraldashborer.

    CONTACT: Jean Kummer

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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