Invasive Beetle Destroying Trees in Berks County

One of the hot jobs in Berks County this week has field surveyors battling the heat...looking for bugs. It's part of a nationwide survey scoping out the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that's decimating trees across the country. WFMZ's Karin Mallett has the story. sb>> REPORTER: When they strike the damage is total and catastrophic- The American Chestnut and American Elm have already fallen prey- the ash tree may be next. An intriguing beetle- the Emerald Ash borer is about the size of your thumbnail. >>Shu Ambe: The beetle is one of the most beautiful insects- really bright green and so good to look at. sb>> REPORTER: But not so good to the trees- >>Jim Griesemer: If it gets into an area- you're looking at the ash trees completely dying within a few years. sb>> REPORTER: The first recorded EAB infestation in the US was in Michigan- it has since spread here to Pennsylvania. Last summer- 4 counties were quarantined. This summer- Berks and 35 other counties in the state are participating in an EAB survey. If the beetles are here- this sticky purple-paneled box should catch one. >>Ambe: It's quite conspicuous- spot it right from a distance. sb>> REPORTER: The beetles are attracted to the color purple- and manuca oil- which smells like pine tar.. is in the pouch. Surveyors will hang anywhere from 150 to 200 traps across Berks- when they're finished- they'll go back to the first ones they hung- and look for bugs. The specimens will be sent to Harrisburg. >> REPORTER: The EAB is not native to the U.S. It orginated in Asia- China, Korea, Russia, Indonesia. Entomologists believe it came here in wood packaging materials- a beetle in a box- had one long journey. sb>> REPORTER: One way you can help stop the spread is to buy locally-harvested firewood. >>Griesemer: If you transport it from one area to another- you've just taken the firewood with you but you've also taken that insect to an area that may not have had it- and there go the ash trees along with wherever you brought it from. sb>> REPORTER: It's a vicious cycle- attacking one of our most precious resources. In Lower Heidelberg Township- Karin Mallett 69 News Berks Edition.

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