HARRISBURG, Pa. — Adult emerald ash borers, invasive beetles that destroy ash trees, were identified in West Middlesex, Pa., Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said.
The beetle was detected for the first time in Pennsylvania last summer and a quarantine for Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties was imposed to help slow the spread of the beetle. That quarantine will be expanded to include Mercer County.
“Our survey crews are assessing the extent of the infestation in Mercer County and surrounding areas,” said Wolff.
Survey crews have been hanging purple panel sticky traps in 35 counties across the state since the end of May. The traps are designed to attract the adult beetles and help surveyors determine the spread of the invasive beetle.
“We remind consumers to heed the quarantine when traveling and camping this summer in western Pennsylvania to prevent any further spread of the beetle,” Wolff said.
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 — including ash, oak, maple and hickory — are considered quarantined.
Since many species of wood-boring insects, including the emerald ash borer, can be spread through transport of infested firewood and logs, campers and homeowners are encouraged to use only locally harvested firewood, burn all 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 Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois.
People who suspect they have seen emerald ash borer should call the department’s toll-free pest hotline at 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 or visit http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/emeraldashborer.