COUNTY—Jeff Dexter, Upper Delaware Council (UDC) representative for Damascus Township, reported to the township's supervisors that the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle has been sighted in Berlin Township.

A native of Southeast Asia, EAB first came to Pennsylvania in 2007 and has since spread to all counties, says the recent UDC newsletter.

The half-inch long, metallic green insect targets ash trees specifically, often devouring all of that type in their infested area.

The beetle species was confirmed in western Wayne County by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) last year, around Lake Henry.

As earlier reported, DCNR Service Forrester Timmothy Latz estimated the beetles were likely around before that time, however.

The bugs are often transported to a new location via firewood or wooden packing materials.

According to the UDC newsletter, adults target foilage, but the real danger comes from the larvae which borrow under the bark and consume the tree's protective barrier from the inside out, eventually emerging via a small D-shaped hole.

Wayne Conservation District Forest Specialist Kelley Stewart noted that, aside from wiping out the ash population, the infestation can present a danger to homeowners as ash wood becomes quite brittle and rapidly decays when dead.

This leads to the trees crashing down unexpectedly, which can cause structural damage if located too close to a residence or other property building.

One of the best ways to identify an infested tree is to look for woodpecker holes drilled into the bark in search of the beetles.

The UDC advises keeping a keen eye out for the EAB exit holes and thin, wilted foilage to identify an infestation.

Stewart noted some of these secondary symptoms may not be present, yet the tree might still be infested.

Once identified, such trees should be removed carefully to prevent them falling on their own, and the sighting should be reported to the National Parks Service (NPS) at www.nps.gov/upde, or the DCNR at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

Helping to curtail EAB infestations, DCNR is releasing parasitoid wasps in confirmed EAB locations.

These wasps target EAB eggs, laying their own clutches in or near them so the young wasps can ingest the unborn beetles upon hatching.

EAB were first spotted in the United States in Michigan in 2002.

Stewart explained research in the initial infested areas have shown some ash trees surviving the onslaught as a result of their genetic make up.

She is hopeful this means clear-cutting may not be necessary and some ash trees may yet survive the beetles's assault.