WAYNE COUNTY—Earlier this spring, Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) service forester Timmothy Latz discovered evidence for the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) species of beetle on trees near Lake Henry.
According to DCNR, the EAB species are roughly a half-inch long, metallic-green beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees, eventually killing them.
The species was first identified in North America in 2002 in Michigan, states DCNR.
According to Latz, EABs target trees down to two inches in diameter. They frequently target and kill all trees in their wake.
Latz said he found evidence of extensive woodpecker bores on ash trees indicating the presence of a large infestation between the state game lands and private property in Lake Township.
“When an infestation has been found, it's usually been there for a while,” said Latz.
He estimated the EABs have likely been in Wayne County for up to 5 years and have likely reached many if not all parts of the county.
When trees begin to display heavy evidence of infestation, Latz said they usually only last for another year before falling.
He stated it is pertinent for homeowners to identify potential “hazard trees.”
Latz explained these are trees located near a house, car, people or other targets which could potentially be damaged in the event of a fall.
Latz explained that dying ash trees present a particular peril in that they begin to fall apart rapidly.
Costs for removal of dying as trees can be quite expensive due to this danger, he stated.
Homeowners with such trees are advised to contact a company involved with the International Society of Arborists to determine whether the tree can be saved via treatment or whether it needs to be removed.
Ash lumber has many uses and it's unfortunate to lose acres and acres of the resource, said Latz.
Landowners with large tracts of ash forests are encouraged to consider having safe lumber harvested lest it become infested.
To help prevent the EAB advance, DCNR has begun releasing parasitoid wasps, natural predators to the EAB.
Latz said releasing the wasps, while helpful, is not necessarily a solution. “At the very best, it will keep it at bay,” he said.
The DCNR Bureau of Forestry is maintaining ash nursery stock and treating adult trees every two years to keep a seed bank ready for repopulation after the invaders have been dealt with.
Given that they're still unsure of the full extent of the invasion, Latz said DCNR is unsure when they'll be able to begin replanting.
More information can be found by calling the DCNR Bureau of Forestry at (570) 945-7133 or on their website: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/insectsdisease/eab.