Invasive beetle makes first appearance in Berks County

Invasive beetle makes first appearance in Berks County

BERN TWP., Pa. - An insect making its way into Berks County is small, but powerful.

The Emerald Ash Borer has made its way through Michigan, Ohio and now Pennsylvania, threatening the livelihood of ash trees in Berks County.

"This new pest though, it is decimating. It attacks live healthy trees, comes in and is something our normal trees just are not able to handle," said Nancy Bosold, with Penn State Extension Berks County.  

Extension agents with Penn State Extension, Berks County said the beetle will lay larva, which will borrow up the bark and basically prevent the tree from transporting nutrients and water.

"Generally, when people cut down the ash trees, who are burning wood for the season, they are able to throw that right in the stove and burn it because they are dying that fast," said Matt Fessler, owner of Out On a Limb Tree Service.

So, the first thing you need to do if you have an ash tree is look at the condition of the tree and see if the top limbs are starting to wilt during the summer months.    

If you see signs of the emerald ash beetle, such as the D-shaped holes, you can purchase tree safe insecticides or seek professional help if your tree is more than 47 inches in circumference.

"The good news is there are good products that can protect trees, but homeowners have to decide which trees to protect and understand it is an ongoing thing," said Bosold.

Bosold said if you have multiple ash trees, pick those more important to you and the ones you can afford to save.

So far, the beetle has only been found in Bern Township, but because it has been found in other surrounding counties, Bosold said it is best to take preventative steps now.

Bosold also said do not transport firewood.

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