HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – For the first time, the emerald ash borer is present in every county in the Midstate.
The insect first showed up in the United States in 2002, made its way to western Pennsylvania in 2007, and infested the entire Midstate by 2015.
The emerald ash borer is no gem. It feeds on ash trees, killing them. The insect has already killed an estimated 20- to 55-million ash trees in the infested areas; bad news, not only for the environment.
“Louisville slugger that makes wooden baseball bats, they stockpiled ash wood to make bats in the future because they’re projecting that they’re going to lose a lot of their wood because the ash trees will be taken out,” said Time Abbey, a horticulture educator with Penn State Extension.
People are also in danger.
“They make these trees dangerous trees,” Abbey said. “They become what are called hazard trees and if they have a target which would mean a house, a roadway, a sidewalk, any place where someone might be, there’s always the chance that a limb breaks and falls on someone.”
That can potentially happen anywhere in the Midstate. The insect first showed up in Cumberland County in 2010. By 2015, they spread all the way to Lancaster County.
What can be done? If you have an ash tree, you can have a landscaping company treat it with an insecticide.
“The treatments do provide protection from the larvae, however, depending on what they use they’re going to have to treat annually and there is one material that they could go every two to three years,” Abbey said.
If your ash tree looks dead at the top or has “D” shaped holes, it may already be infested. If you think that is the case, contact Penn State Extension. You can find the closest office at http://extension.psu.edu/counties.