An insidious bug is threatening to change Pennsylvania's landscape. For the first time the emerald ash bore has been found in a tree in southeast Pennsylvania.
It's a an issue that could cause a problem for Katie DeHaven of Warminster, Bucks County.
"Once the insect is in the tree there's a good chance it will probably be dead in one to two years," Biresch told her.
Experts say the emerald ash beetle is poised to dramatically change the landscape of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The numbers are a little mind-boggling.
"Between 40 million to 50 million trees have been killed already," said Scott Guiser of Penn State's Bucks County Extension.
The emerald ash beetle, first found in Michigan in 2002, came over from Asia and it's been boring it's way into trees this way ever since.
Two weeks ago landscaper Mark Biresch found the first one ever in our area while working in Warrington.
Our area could look very different in 10 years, Biresch said.
"It's going to look really different. I got some neighborhoods where the percentage of ash tress may be 50 percent," he said.
Penn State Extension educator Scott Guiser says the larva feed on the tree.
Serpentine marks show infection but the best indication is wood peckers.
"Wood peckers go for the larva," Guiser explained.
So what's the tree prognostication here in the Lehigh Valley?
Experts say it's not a matter of if but when the emerald ash bores in here. Forester Tim Dugan says ash trees make up three to five percent of the Lehigh Valley's tree canopy. He says along city streetscapes and in neighborhoods the percentage can double.
He is using purple box traps to monitor trees. So far Dugan says the traps are clean and he's recruited others to be lookouts too.
"Private citizens have been calling in too, when their ash trees dies to let us know if their is something suspicious," Dugan said.
Experts say only pre-treated trees will survive. Costs can run from $100 up but that's only counting trees in neighborhoods, not forests.
"Southeastern Pennsylvania has more ash than any other part of the state and it's going to kill most of them," Guiser said.
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