HARRISBURG, PA July 1 -- With the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer beetles in Centre, Fulton and Somerset counties, the invasive tree-killing pest has now been found in 15 Pennsylvania counties, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

Emerald Ash Borer poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania's nation-leading hardwoods industry, which contributes nearly $25 billion to the economy, Redding said.

In Centre County, the beetle was found in Potters Mills at the intersection of routes 144 and 322. The Fulton County infestation is in Valley-Hi Borough along Route 30, and the Somerset County location is in Quemahoning Township on Route 30. A suspect sample found in Gregg Township, Union County, is being tested for confirmation.

"The Agriculture department's summer survey crews are diligently working to assess the spread of the beetle across the state," said Redding. "With the holiday weekend at hand, we urge all campers and travelers to help prevent the further spread of these pests by not hauling firewood from place to place."

State and federal Emerald Ash Borer quarantines restrict moving ash nursery stock, green lumber, and any other ash material, including logs, stumps, roots and branches, from the quarantine area. However, 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 department has not yet expanded the existing quarantine, but will draw new quarantine lines based on the survey results through the end of July.

The invasive Emerald Ash Borer 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.

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.

People who suspect they have found Emerald Ash Borer beetles 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 continue to 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."

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

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