The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has quarantined all hardwood firewood and wood chips after the emerald ash borer beetle was discovered in six additional counties to the 22 already experiencing problems. No firewood will be allowed in or out of Pennsylvania without proper inspection and certification.
The beetles were recently found in Bucks, Franklin, Jefferson, Perry, Snyder, and Venango counties. Other counties in the state that have experienced infestations include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.
The ash-tree killing pest was first detected in Michigan in 2002 and was then discovered in Pennsylvania in 2007. The beetles can kill an ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. They fly from early May through September and lay their eggs inside the bark of the trees.
"We have targeted invasive pests as a priority to protect our state's forests," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard Allan. "Actions taken cooperatively by state and federal partners are helping us detect and prevent further spread of the emerald ash borer."
DCNR is providing support to communities and state parks to develop management plans for the emerald ash borer. The agency is also working to obtain grants to protect trees against attack and releasing biological control agents to fight the pest.
As part of a national survey, the department's emerald ash borer crews began hanging about 750 triangular purple traps from ash trees in May to attract adult beetles, so as to detect further spread. In addition, more than 350 non-trap survey sites have been investigated for the pests. The crews will continue to monitor the traps and the sites through August.
Those who suspect they have found emerald ash borer beetles are encouraged to call the toll-free automated pest hotline number, 1-866-253-7189.