HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today warned property owners about Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle that damages ash trees and has caused quarantines to be imposed in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland and Michigan.



"Emerald Ash Borer poses a major threat to ash trees, and resulting quarantines could affect all hardwood firewood in the state, including oak, maple and hickory," said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. "Pennsylvania landowners who own marketable ash timber should consider the risks presented by Emerald Ash Borer in determining when to harvest their trees. Once this pest is discovered, movement of ash products will be severely restricted."



Some processed wood will be marketable even if a quarantine order is eventually imposed, so individual businesses will need to assess the potential impact on their operation.

On Dec. 1, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service expanded the federal quarantine to include the entire states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.



The federal order restricts the interstate movement of regulated articles that originate within the quarantine area. These include 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 regulated articles.



There is no known practical control for this wood-boring pest other than destroying infested trees.



Emerald Ash Borer is a wood-boring beetle native to China and eastern Asia. The pest probably 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 25 million ash trees in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois.



For information on Emerald Ash Borer or quarantines on timber movement in Pennsylvania, call 717-772-5205.



SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture via PR Newswire.