Begin Main Content Area

Emerald Ash Borer Survey Program

Invasive species that affect plants in Pennsylvania are the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  In most cases, invasive insect pests are surveyed for under the umbrella of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program (CAPS).  Once detected, if a pest is deemed to be of regulatory significance, the USDA will initiate a program to manage the pest on a regional, nationwide, or international basis.  This is done largely through quarantines, and once quarantines are established, the PDA must survey for and report occurrences of the targeted pest until the pest is deemed either non-actionable or established statewide.  Emerald ash borer is an invasive insect pest from Southeast Asia that kills all members of genus Fraxinus (Ash) in North America.  It was first detected in Michigan in 2002, and quickly found to be established in neighboring states and Canada.  Due to the sheer devastation caused by this pest, the USDA formed a national program almost immediately, and provided cooperating states with resources for survey, outreach, and management.

Pennsylvania formed a multi-agency task force chaired by the PDA, which drafted an action plan for Pennsylvania, and coordinated cooperative efforts among stakeholder agencies in Pennsylvania.  The task force meets quarterly and when new EAB detections are made in Pennsylvania.  Survey efforts for EAB were conducted as part of the CAPS survey until the pest's detection in 2007.  In 2007, EAB was detected in Butler and Allegheny Counties in Pennsylvania.  Because of the detection, through the efforts of Senator Casey, funding was provided to PDA through the USDA to fund an Emerald Ash Borer Program.  The program is focused primarily on survey, outreach, and quarantines.  Quarantines are initiated when surveys detect EAB in new counties.  Outreach assists with surveys but also helps with quarantine notification and compliance.  Survey work is guided by recommendations of a national science panel formed by the USDA.  In recent years survey has become more focused on determining the extent of EAB distribution to aid sister agencies in mitigation efforts.

After EAB was detected an internal quarantine was enacted to limit the spread of EAB in Pennsylvania and at the same time, the USDA enacted a federal quarantine to limit the movement of ash out of Pennsylvania.  In addition to restrictions on all hardwood firewood under the two emerald ash borer quarantines, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture also issued an Order of Quarantine in 2007 prohibiting the movement of firewood of all types and species into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania unless it is labeled as "kiln dried" and/or is USDA certified.  This quarantine is designed to help slow the spread of this and other nonnative invasive forest pests and diseases which are often moved long distances hidden in firewood.  Due to a number of EAB detections in Pennsylvania and adjacent counties in neighboring states, in April of 2011 the internal state quarantine restricting the movement of ash within Pennsylvania was rescinded.  THE FEDERAL QUARANTINE ON EAB AND EXTERNAL QUARANTINE ON FIREWOOD FROM OUTSIDE PENNSYLVANIA ARE STILL IN EFFECT.  This means it is legal to move firewood, ash and the insect between counties inside the state, but it is not legal to move non-compliant items out of the state, nor is it legal to move non-compliant firewood into the state.

Although the state's EAB quarantine is no longer in effect, it is still possible to move this devastating pest to other parts of Pennsylvania when firewood is transported out of an infested area.  You can help protect Pennsylvania's urban, suburban, and forested areas from EAB and other non-native invasive forest pests and diseases by doing the following:

  • Buy/burn locally cut firewood
  • If you have already brought firewood from another area, BURN IT.  Do not leave it.  Do not take it with you.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors not to move firewood distances greater than 50 miles.