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Public reminded of steps to take to protect trees during Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month
By taking a few minutes to inspect trees for unusual insect damage this month, Pennsylvanians can help safeguard the state from a non-native, invasive threat to the state’s forests.

“Healthy forests directly correlate to healthy waterways. Healthy waterways mean healthy communities and can directly impact the health of our economies. To maintain the health of each of these, we must be vigilant and watch for the Asian longhorned beetle,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.

“Because it is similar in appearance to more common beetles, it’s important to accurately identify the pest and where it was discovered,” he added. “We’re asking residents to collect and submit suspected Asian longhorned beetles and note the location in which they were found.”

Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed August Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month in recognition of the danger the beetles pose for multiple Pennsylvania hardwood species. The United States Department of Agriculture proclaimed August Tree Check Month as part of a national campaign urging people to take 10 minutes to check their trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. August was chosen since adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall.

The adult Asian longhorned beetle is three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter inches long, has a jet-black glossy body with white spots on each wing, and long, black and bluish-white antennae.

If citizens suspect a sighting of Asian longhorned beetle, call the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-866-253-7198 or e-mail badbug@state.pa.us.

Residents can also collect a sample and ship it to one of Pennsylvania’s 67 county Penn State Extension offices, to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture headquarters in Harrisburg, or to one of the department’s six other regional office locations. Be sure to include a sample submission form available at http://bit.ly/1P6ornC.

Many species of wood-boring insects, including the Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, can be spread through transport of infested firewood and logs, campers and homeowners are encouraged to use only locally-harvested firewood, burn all of it on-site, and not carry it to new locations.

Beetle larvae tunnel through tree stems causing girdling that cuts off the flow of nutrients, eventually killing the tree and resulting in coarse sawdust at the base of infested parts of the tree. Adult beetles leave round exit holes in the tree after they emerge. There is no known practical control for this wood-boring pest other than destroying infested trees.

The beetles attack and eventually kill many species of trees, but prefer maple species. Soft (red maple) and hard (sugar maple) trees make up more than 25 percent of Pennsylvania’s hardwood forests. The beetle also attacks species of ash, birch, buckeye, elm, horsechestnut, poplar and willow trees. As much as $10 billion in lumber and pulp production and $3 million in maple syrup sales are at risk.

Native to China, Mongolia and Korea, the beetle was first discovered in North America in New York in 1996 and has since been found in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Ontario, mainly in urban settings.

For more information about Asian longhorned beetle, including photos, visit here.

Note: The text of Governor Tom Wolf’s proclamation declaring August Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month:

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is the national leader in hardwood lumber production, with nearly 900 million board feet of lumber harvested from the commonwealth’s rich forest resources in 2014; and

WHEREAS, native tree species like ash, birch, buckeye, elm, hackberry, horsechestnut, maple, poplar and willow enhance the commonwealth’s air and water quality, natural landscapes, recreational destinations, wildlife habitats, property values, and the agricultural economy as popular choices for furniture, flooring and ornamental landscapes; and

WHEREAS, hardwood trees in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states are under attack by the Asian Longhorned Beetle, a destructive, non-native beetle that is dangerously close to Pennsylvania’s borders, threatening the stability of the state’s hardwood lumber industry and natural ecosystems; and

WHEREAS, the Asian Longhorned Beetle has already destroyed hundreds of thousands of hardwood trees in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio, and damage may reach into the billions of dollars if it continues to spread; and

WHEREAS, efforts undertaken in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States, in partnership with private and nonprofit organizations, universities and local, state and federal agencies, are helping to protect the billions of hardwood trees in the United States; and

WHEREAS, employing a cooperative spirit and encouraging environmental stewardship throughout these states and partnerships ultimately reduces the risk to the nation’s hardwood forest resources; and

WHEREAS, all Pennsylvanians have a responsibility to stop the introduction and artificial spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle by remaining vigilant, reporting sightings, limiting movement of firewood and other untreated hardwood materials, and increasing their understanding and awareness of the beetle and its severe potential effects on Pennsylvania’s natural resources and economy.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim August 2015 as ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania, and encourage local, state and federal government agencies to work together with schools, businesses, industry, agricultural and environmental groups, community organizations, visitors and all citizens of the Commonwealth to take action against the introduction and spread of this invasive and destructive beetle.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this first day of August in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

TOM WOLF
Governor


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August 26, 2015



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