Emerald ash borer surveys to be conducted in state

Several state and federal agencies, in collaboration with Penn State Cooperative Extension, are on the look out for various species of invasive insects this summer in many parts of Pennsylvania.

Statewide surveys for exotic insect pests will target the emerald ash borer, exotic Cerambycidae (longhorned beetles), exotic Buprestidae (metallic wood-boring beetles), exotic Scolytidae (bark beetles), Sirex noctilio (known as the Sirex wood wasp), and other exotic pests that affect Pennsylvania's plant resources.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will employ 35 two-person survey crews from late May through August in the counties of Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Cumberland, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland and York.

The remaining counties will be covered by other cooperating agencies. Special survey activities in the core emerald-ash-borer-infested area may take place but will be conducted by outside cooperators overseen by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The emerald ash borer, which is deadly to ash trees, is a small beetle with stealth-like behavior patterns that make it extremely difficult to detect. If not managed, the beetle threatens to devastate the entire ash species in North America.

To detect emerald ash borer, survey crews will hang purple panel sticky traps in trees. Resembling a box kite, these traps are three-sided, with each panel measuring about 15 inches by 24 inches.

"The purple panel traps will not bring emerald ash borer into a noninfested site," said Greg Hoover, ornamental extension entomologist in Penn State's Department of Entomology. "These traps help us determine if the pest is already there."

Officials are asking for the public's cooperation in ensuring that these traps are undisturbed so they can provide important information on the distribution of the emerald ash borer in Pennsylvania. "We realize that these traps may be unsightly to some and a source of entertainment to others, but in order for the purple panel sticky traps to work, they must be left alone," Hoover said.

Placement and servicing of traps will be the primary activity of the state Department of Agriculture survey crews. Images and descriptions of traps being deployed for these surveys can be found online at http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/traps. All traps will be labeled with the Department of Agriculture Web site address and a toll-free phone number -- (866) 253-7189.

The local county office of Penn State Cooperative Extension will be the first point of contact for residents reporting an invasive species. Survey crews will be dispatched to investigate reports deemed credible. The crews will have state identification and fluorescent orange vests printed with EMERALD ASH BORER PROGRAM and will be driving vehicles identified with magnetic placards.

Besides the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, participating agencies in the surveys include the Plant Protection and Quarantine division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the Forest Pest Management Division of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry.

For information on the pest surveys, contact Greg Hoover by mail at The Pennsylvania State University, 543 ASI Building, University Park, PA 16802;  by e-mail at gah10@psu.edu; or by phone at (814) 865-3256.

For information about the emerald ash borer in Pennsylvania, as well as links to other state and national sources of information, visit the Web at: http://www.ento.psu.edu/extension/Ornamentals/EmeraldAshBorerInfo/EmeraldAshBorer.html

 

Last Updated March 19, 2009