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Workshops Seek To Stop Invasive Species In Pennsylvania

Hundreds of thousands of trees have been killed due to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is holding workshops to teach landowners how to save their trees.

The insect was first found in Pennsylvania in Cranberry Township, Butler County in 2007. Since then the DCNR has been working to stop the spread in every way it can, but the species has already spread to 47 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

“Our entomologists are under the impression that it’s either you write the tree off, or you invest in saving it, because it’s a deadly insect. It’s a boring insect that will infest the tree and before the homeowner or landowner knows it, the tree will be dying,” said Terry Brady, Deputy Press Secretary for DCNR.

In order to save the trees, they must be treated with an insecticide, but Brady says that it is expensive and must be done every year.

Pennsylvania’s state parks have elected to treat the ash trees that are significant to the community or are close to picnic groves. In addition to these treatments the department has released parasitic wasps which kill the insects as they use them for hosts, and distributed a multitude of educational material.

The ash is the 8th most common tree in Pennsylvania at about 308 million  and is a big income generator.

“In the North Central area of the state it is the heart of the industry for the ash tree being supplied for baseball bats. So your Pirates’ bats probably were made from ash and probably were from north central Pennsylvania. It’s a very strong wood, but it’s a very light wood,” said Brady.

Allegheny County will host the next workshop on Wednesday at 8:30 am in North Park Lodge. There will be experts at the workshops to teach people how to treat the trees, and what can be done once the tree is infected.

Attendees must pre-register by emailing cshafer@pa.gov or calling (717)783-2066.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.