Invasive insect spreading through Pa.

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 23, 2014 6:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The state is trying to get the word out about an invasive species is killing millions of trees in Pennsylvania. The emerald ash borer, a green beetle native to Asia and eastern Russia, is doing plenty of damage in the commonwealth.


It cuts off the tree's ability to circulate water and nutrients and can spread very quickly - it's gone from 28 counties in 2012 to at least 47 today, including most of the midstate.

Adams, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Schuylkill and York counties are the only ones in central Pennsylvania without a confirmed sighting.

"If you are in a community where 50 years they thought, ash trees are pretty, we're going to plant all ash trees everywhere, you're going to have an issue if emerald ash borer gets to you because that's all it feeds on. So it re-empahsizes the need to always have a mix of species," says Rachel Wagoner, Bureau of State Parks.

It's estimated more than 40 million trees in nearby states have been affected by the emerald ash borer.

"It's patchy," says Wagoner.

"We are seeing areas where trees are declining very, very quickly, and it is almost a complete loss of all the ash trees in the area."

Wagoner says using local firewood can help prevent the spread because it isolates the insect and doesn't allow it to jump from county to county.

Four workshops are planned in Chester, Huntington, Allegheny and Tioga counties starting March 18th to offer more tips to control the invasive species.

Published in News

back to top