Agriculture Secretary Asks Public to Help Keep Foreign Beetle From Entering PA

August 18, 2009

Asian Longhorned Beetle Now in Neighboring States; Could Threaten Hardwoods Industry

ROCK SPRINGS, Pa., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today asked the public to help keep the Asian Longhorned Beetle from entering the state, saying the non-native, invasive wood-boring pest could severely harm Pennsylvania’s hardwoods industry.

“The Asian Longhorned Beetle has not yet been found in Pennsylvania, but if allowed to enter it could pose a major threat to Pennsylvania’s timber, maple syrup and tourism industries,” said Wolff during an event at Ag Progress Days as part of August’s Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month.

“By learning to recognize this invasive wood-boring pest, all Pennsylvanians can help to protect our precious resources that are a vital part of our economy,” Wolff added.

The adult Asian Longhorned Beetle is three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter inch long, has a jet-black glossy body with 20 white or yellow spots on each wing, and long blue or black and white antennae.

Beetle larvae tunnel through tree stems causing girdling that cuts off the flow of nutrients, eventually killing the tree. Adult beetles leave round exit holes in the tree, resulting in coarse sawdust at the base of infested parts of the tree. There is no known practical control for this wood-boring pest other than destroying infested trees.

The beetles attack and eventually kill many species of trees, but prefer maple species. Soft (red maple) and hard (sugar maple) trees make up more than 23 percent of Pennsylvania’s hardwood forests. Maple lumber production in the state is worth more than $3 billion and maple syrup production contributes nearly $3 million to the economy.

The beetle also attacks species of birch, buckeye, horsechestnut, elm and willow trees.

Native to China, Mongolia and Korea, the beetle was first discovered in North America in New York in 1996 and has since been found in Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts, mainly in urban settings.

Pennsylvania’s proximity to New York and New Jersey raise a concern due to frequent travel across state borders for recreational purposes. Should the beetle be found in Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture will partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine division and the U.S. Forest Service to implement a full-scale eradication program.

The program would entail surveys, imposing quarantines to prevent accidental transport of the beetle, removal and destruction of infested host trees and high risk trees, as well as outreach and replanting efforts.

If citizens suspect a sighting of Asian Longhorned Beetle, call the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-866-253-7189 or e-mail badbug@state.pa.us.

For more information about Asian Longhorned Beetle, contact Ashley Walter, coordinator of the Governor’s Invasive Species Council of Pennsylvania at 717-525-5800, or visit www.invasivespeciescouncil.com. The Web site also offers photos.

    Jean Kummer
    (717) 787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

comments powered by Disqus