HARRISBURG, PA -- Threats to the hardwoods industry grew as the tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer beetles spread to three new counties in Pennsylvania, and were confirmed in Ontario Province in Canada. Pennsylvania officials say because of the difficulty in distinguishing between species of hardwood firewood, all hardwood firewood and wood chips--including ash, oak, maple and hickory--are considered quarantined. Canadian agencies also confirmed the tree-killing beetle's presence had been confirmed in numerous cities in Quebec and Ontario provinces.

Now found in 15 Pennsylvania counties,
the invasive Emerald Ash Borerbeetle was first detected in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2007 in Butler County, then spread to Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Indiana, Juniata, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Washington and Westmoreland counties. State and federal Emerald Ash Borer quarantine restrictions are being enforced, prohibiting moving ash nursery stock, green lumber, and any other ash material, including logs, stumps, roots and branches, from the quarantine area.

The wood-boring beetle,  native to China and eastern Asia, 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. Typically, the Emerald Ash Borer beetles will kill an ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. Pennsylvania says its hardwood industry totals $25 billion annually.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.