Emerald Ash Borer Found in Bedford County; Quarantine Expanded

May 18, 2010, 11:36 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Campers Again Urged Not to Haul Firewood from Place to Place

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emerald Ash Borer beetles have been found near Graceville, Bedford, County, bringing to 12 the number of Pennsylvania counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

In response to this latest discovery, Redding said a state-imposed quarantine is being expanded to include Bedford County. He reminded residents and visitors to use only locally harvested firewood, burn all of the firewood on-site, and not move it to new locations.

"Our survey crews are acting swiftly to assess the extent of infestation in Bedford County and surrounding areas," said Redding. "As we enter the summer traveling and camping season, the department urges all Pennsylvanians to heed the imposed hardwood firewood quarantine – not just in the specified areas, but throughout the state to prevent any further spread of the beetle."

The Bedford County infestation was discovered at the intersection of Tannery Road and Route 30 near Graceville, which is less than one mile east of Breezewood and less than one mile from the Fulton County line, after Department of Conservation and Natural Resources staff noticed extensive tree damage due to woodpecker. Such damage often indicates that trees may be infected as the birds injure the trees while trying to eat the beetle larvae.  

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.

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.

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

Emerald Ash Borer is a wood-boring beetle 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, and is responsible for the death and decline of more than 40 million trees.

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.

The Pennsylvania Agriculture Department Emerald Ash Borer survey crews will begin hanging nearly 6,000 purple panel traps from ash trees Friday, May 21, in 21 counties. The traps are designed to attract flying adult beetles to help detect further spread. Crews will remove the traps 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 U.S. Forest Service and DCNR's 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

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture