PA Recognizes Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week; Ag Secretary Urges Public to Help Protect Hardwoods Industry Against Invasive Pest

May 24, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pennsylvanians can play an active role in safeguarding the state’s hardwoods industry from a potentially devastating invasive pest, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today as he stood among towering ash trees on Harrisburg’s City Island.

“Governor Rendell proclaimed this week as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week to remind Pennsylvanians of the serious threat this invasive beetle poses to our state’s nation-leading hardwoods industry, which contributes nearly $25 billion to our economy,” said Redding. “This pest is already blamed for the death and decline of more than 40 million trees in a number of states.”

The Emerald Ash Borer–an invasive beetle–was first detected in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2007 in Butler County, and subsequently was found in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Indiana, Juniata, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

The wood-boring beetle is native to China and eastern Asia. The pest likely arrived in North America in wooden shipping crates. It was first detected in July 2002 in southeastern Michigan and neighboring Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In addition to Pennsylvania, the beetle is attacking ash trees in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

To help prevent the beetle from spreading, the commonwealth quarantined hardwood firewood from the 12 affected counties. Redding said residents and visitors should use only locally harvested firewood, burn all of the firewood on-site, and not move it to new locations.

“With summer travel season upon us, we remind all citizens to do their part in slowing the spread of the beetle by heeding the hardwood firewood quarantine in place, not just in the 12 specified counties, but across Pennsylvania,” Redding said, noting that, due to the difficulty in distinguishing between species of hardwood firewood, all hardwood firewood and wood chips–including ash, oak, maple and hickory–are considered quarantined.

Typically, the Emerald Ash Borer 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.

The Pennsylvania Agriculture Department Emerald Ash Borer survey crews began hanging nearly 6,000 purple panel traps from ash trees in 21 counties on May 21. The traps are designed to attract flying adult beetles to help detect further spread. Crews will monitor the traps all summer and remove them by the end of August.

The national survey is being conducted in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the United States Forest Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry.

Information is also available at www.agriculture.state.pa.us by searching “Emerald Ash Borer.”

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085.

Editor’s Note: Photos are available via the media contact listed above.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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