Category: Insects

What is the Emerald Ash Borer?

The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, a beetle native to Asia, was first detected in Michigan in 2002. Evidence suggests that the beetle was established in Michigan for years prior to its discovery. Emerald ash borer (EAB) has since been detected in several states including Pennsylvania. In addition to spreading by natural means, EAB can be transported to new areas in infested firewood, timber, and nursery stock. This beetle has been responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees in North America.

The Ash Tree

The Ash Tree

Host: In North America, EAB is known to infest all species of ash. Ash can be recognized by the presence of compound leaves which are arranged opposite of one another on the branches.

Biology: Eggs are laid between layers of bark and in bark crevices. Larvae hatch in about one week and bore into the tree where they feed on the inner bark and phloem, creating “S” -shaped galleries. Larvae go through three feeding stages, and then excavate a pupal chamber in the fall, where they will overwinter as prepupae. Pupation occurs in late spring, and adults begin to emerge through “D”  shared exit holes in May and early June. Adults will remain active until the end of summer.

Symptoms and Signs: New infestations are difficult to detect, as damage to the tree may not be apparent for up to three years. Symptoms in the upper crown, excessive epicormic branching on the tree trunk, and vertical bark slits. Woodpecker damage is sometimes apparent.

Ash Borer Damage.

Damage from Ash Borer Beetle.


Protecting our Forests and Trees in Pennsylvania:

  • Use Local Firewood.
  • Do not bring firewood into PA. This is banned under order of quarantine currently.
  • If you have already transported firewood, do not take it home, do not leave it – BURN IT.

Reporting Ash Borer Beetle to PA Department of Agriculture:

The PA Department of Agriculture is scheduling spray treatments for the beetle. If you discover or think you have found the Emerald Ash Borer, report it by contacting:

PA Department of Agriculture: 1-866-253-7189 or report your sighting by e-mail at:

This information is directly from the Penn State Cooperative Extension. Please consult at:


Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Altoona PA.

I have been asked a few times if the ‘Stink Bugs’ that seem to be dominating Pennsylvania will harm flower beds, gardens, trees, and lawns.

The stink bugs actual name is Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. And well, as you know, they stink.. Especially if they are smashed. These littles insects come from China. The first stink bug was collected from the United States in 1998. Rumor has it that they where brought to the states with shipments from China by Walmart. From what I understand, they originated in the states in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Will stink bugs harm my bushes and/or trees?
Not that I am aware of. I have never read that they destroy trees. It might become noticed in the future, but currently I have not heard of such a case. So far the answer is no.

Will stink bugs destroy my lawn in any way?
Again, not that I am aware of. Again, so far the answer is no.

Do stink bugs harm crops?
Yes, they do. They cause damage to fruit and vegetable crops and are a extremely high agricultural pest. The bug begins to feed in May / June. They feed from apples, cherries, green beens, soy beans, respberries, and pears, and peaches. I am sure the list contains, but these are the highest damaged fruit crops that the bug feeds from.

Stink bugs have invaded my home!
These bugs are not dumb. They will squeeze themselves into any where they can possibly fit in order to find shelter, to of course, survive the winter months. And your home is no exception. They normally hibernate, however, due to our indoor heating, they become after and fly clumsily around banging into things. Very annoying.

The climate in the United States has allowed them to produce twice as fast as in Asia.

Best way to get rid of a stink bug?
Flush it in the toilet, or, spray them with dish soap mixed with water. It eats the exoskeleton and kills them. Squashing these bugs with a fly swatter or other means causes them to emit there horrible odor. Try not to ‘upset’ the bug as well, this causes them to release there odor. Think of them as a really, really, really small skunk..

Have you started to notice damage from what you thought was caused by a stink bug, but have learned it wasn’t? Still not sure? Leave a comment on this post with the symptoms. Provide as much detail as possible and we will try to give you an answer as to what may have caused the damage. We may even be available (depending on your area) to come and give you a free diagnostics of the damage, and work with you to correct it.

Lawn Grubs, They Eat Your Lawns Roots

Diagnose the Problem
First, you have to make sure you actually have lawn grubs. If you have moles, it’s pretty much a guarantee you have grubs. If you don’t have moles, but patches of your lawn are dying and easily pulled up (thanks to severely damaged roots) that’s a definite sign too. To make sure, dig into your soil a little. If you see small white creatures that look like larvae, you have grubs.

Treat at the Right Time
You may want to treat lawn grubs immediately, but if you go after them too early in the spring, you’ll spend a lot of time and money without killing many grubs. Around June, lawn grubs hit the stage where they go to town on your lawn, but also where they’re most susceptible to insecticide. That’s the time to treat your lawn.

Go Deep
Lawn grubs can be tenacious little creatures. To really kill them, you have to make sure the insecticide gets down to where they’re hiding out. If you treat your lawn and aerate it, the poison will penetrate down to the levels it needs to. Wearing spike shoes will do the trick too (although you should avoid the spike shoes if you already have compacted soil).

You may have to repeat your insecticide application, but once you’ve taken care of the lawn grub problem, you’ll be both grub- and mole-free.

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