Be Prepared For Emerald Ash Borers in Bucks County

Emerald Ash Borer in Bucks County“Be Prepared” has been the Boy Scout motto for the last 108 years.

But the scouts of 1907 weren’t thinking about the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect species that has been killing Bucks County trees for the last few years.

Fortunately, Peter Benz Landscaping has experience with dealing with the Emerald Ash Borer in Bucks County, which is why we were recently able to respond to a significant EAB infestation at the Ockanickon Boy Scout Reservation near Pipersville, Pennsylvania.

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PA Lyme Disease Statistics Show Us Leading the Nation

PA lyme disease statistics

A bull’s eye rash like this is a sign that you’ve been bitten by a deer tick.

Pennsylvania has been the best in the country at a lot of positive things in the past few years, such as promoting access to healthy foods, and preserving farmland.

But here’s something we probably won’t want to put on the travel brochures: PA Lyme disease statistics show the state led the nation in reported cases of the illness in 2013.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to people bitten by an infected tick known as the black-legged or deer tick. The number of cases of Lyme disease has risen 25-fold since health agencies began recording the disease in 1982.

Pennsylvania has been the number one state for Lyme disease nearly every year since 2009 – New Jersey beat us by 22 cases in 2010 – and accounted for nearly a fifth of all cases nationwide in 2013.

And this year, for the first time, the deer ticks that cause Lyme disease have been observed in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

How does Bucks County fit in?

According to PA Lyme disease statistics, most recorded cases in the state tend to appear in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia.

In the past, Bucks County’s Lyme disease statistics have put it near the top of the list in terms of reported cases of the illness. In 2007, there were between 200-300 reported cases in Bucks, putting it in the same category as Berks, Lancaster and York counties. (The state’s leaders that year were Chester and Montgomery counties, which each had between 500 and 600 cases.)

How serious is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a multi-stage, multi-system inflammatory illness that first manifests itself through a red rash that resembles a bull’s eye. Other early symptoms include fatigue, fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle ache and swollen lymph nodes.

Patients who receive treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely. Treatment involves oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil.

If left untreated, other symptoms may appear, including:

  • Additional rashes on other parts of the body.
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face).
  • Heart palpitations and dizziness.
  • Shooting pains, along with pain and swelling in larger joints such as the knees.
  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness caused by meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord).

In the months and years following a tick bite, patients with an untreated infection may begin to have occasional bouts of arthritis. Some patients will begin to experience neurological problems, including shooting paints, numbness, tingling in their hands or feet, and short term memory trouble.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of Lyme disease patients have symptoms that can last for years after treatment. These symptoms include fatigue, sleep disturbance, cognitive difficulties and muscle or joint pain.

Getting Help

You can try to avoid exposure to Lyme disease by taking precautions when you go outdoors. It’s especially important to take care in June and July, the two months where a majority of the Lyme cases are reported.

Here a few precautions to take, courtesy of the Lower Bucks Lyme Disease Support Group:

  1. Stay in the middle of wooded trails.
  2. Consider using a tick repellent that contains DEET on your skin, and Premethrin-based repellent on your clothing.
  3. Wear white socks, and tuck them into your pants.
  4. Make frequent checks for ticks when you’re in the woods, and then do a full body exam when you get home. Deer ticks are tiny – the size of a pinhead – so check carefully.
  5. If you find a tick, don’t put any substances on it. Use tweezers, grasp it by the mouth, next to the skin, and gently remove it. Put it in a plastic bag or a Tupperware container if you want to get it tested, and wash the bite, the tweezers, and your hands.

If you have found a tick and want to have it examined, Peter Benz Landscaping can help.

We now offer the Lymenator test, which can determine within 10 minutes whether a tick that you’ve found — whether on yourself, a family member or a pet — is carrying Lyme disease.

If you find a tick, follow the fifth step listed above and contact us right away. Lyme disease can be a serious illness, and early recognition and treatment might make all the difference.


Bucks County Under Attack: Emerald Ash Borer Here & Now!

Emerald Ash Borer Bucks County PAThe Emerald Ash Borer has cut a path of destruction from Michigan to Pennsylvania over the last 13 years.

We’ve dealt with this flying pest throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties since 2012, when EABs were spotted in Warrington.

Fast-forward to July of 2015 and Emerald Ash Borers are still plaguing Warrington. Recently, Peter Benz Landscaping was at Westminster Apartments and Meadowood Condominiums at Street and Valley roads, where EAB had infested every ash tree we could spot.

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Emerald Ash Borer Homeowners’ Guide

emerald ash borer

Untreated vs. treated tree

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a threat to all Ash trees. Nevertheless, while this invasive species related to the beetle is highly invasive and aggressive, it can be spotted, prevented and even treated in many cases.

Particularly if you catch an EAB infestation at a reasonably early stage and work proactively, there may be a chance of saving the Ash trees on your property.

As mighty as an Ash tree may appear, it can be brought down surprisingly easily by these tiny but incredibly dangerous little insects.

Just take a look at the photo to the right, which features one tree that was treated for EAB infestation and one that wasn’t, to get a sense of the level of destruction these pests are capable of causing.

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First Documented Emerald Ash Borer Infestation in Warrington PA

Here are some pictures of Ash trees I took in 2012.  These trees were found to be infested by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The location was the Hampton Greens Condominiums in Warrington, Bucks County. This was the first documented case of Emerald Ash Borer in our area.

There were thousands of D-shaped exit wounds where the females emerged to either lay more eggs further down the tree, or fly off to other Ash trees and lay eggs in the tops of those trees. It was estimated that these trees had suffered three years of activity by the time these pictures were taken. They were cut down soon after.

First Infestation of Emerald Ash Borer in Warrington PA - 2012 Emerald Ash Borer Warrington PA - thousands of D shaped exit wounds where the females emerged to either lay more eggs further down the tree, or fly off to other Ash trees and lay eggs in the tops of those trees. Emerald Ash Borer Warrington PA - location was the Hampton Greens Condominiums in Warrington, Bucks County. Emerald Ash Borer Warrington PA - trees suffered three years of activity by the time these pictures were taken.


Emerald Ash Borer Homeowners Checklist (PDF)

emerald ash borer


Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Options

emerald ash borer treatmentIn 2002, an invasive insect species that you may have heard of—a tiny green beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer—was discovered by Michigan foresters.

The EAB, as it’s commonly known, was decimating trees in southeastern Michigan and in nearby Windsor, Ontario. This pest had most likely hitched a ride on a shipping boat, and stowed away in ash pallets and crating.

Over the past decade, the EAB has destroyed between 50 and 60 million Ash trees in a destructive path starting in Michigan and cutting through to Pennsylvania. All major Ash tree species have been attacked by the EAB, and unless proper treatment is given immediately, trees will continue to suffer in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Ash trees make up nearly 20 percent of our local tree population. This is a potentially devastating problem. So how do you know if the Ash trees on your property are being affected?

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The Ash Tree: An Endangered Species

How to Protect Your Trees from the Threat of the Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a classic example of how invasive species thrive. This tiny green beetle is native to Asia and wasn’t seen in the United States until 2002, when it was discovered by Michigan foresters.

Research indicates that the beetle was mistakenly introduced to the country via shipping materials. Since then, the flying green beetles have spread east, including into the state of Pennsylvania. Its presence was documented in Warrington, PA in the spring of 2012, and it has since spread throughout the Bucks County and Montgomery County areas.

At this point, it is believed that these insects are now in our local wood products, such as mulch and wood chips, and are expected to continue to spread rapidly. The Emerald Ash Borer feed on Ash trees, where they lay their eggs in bark crevices. And unfortunately, if something isn’t done about these destructive pests soon, there won’t be any Ash trees left.

EAB has already been responsible for the loss of millions of Ash trees in North America, and at the current rate, there’s every reason to imagine that the Emerald Ash Borer could cause the Ash tree to become an extinct species.

If you have Ash trees on your property, it’s time to meet with a certified arborist to discuss your options.

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The Best Way to Time Tick Treatment

tick treatment, bucks county tick treatmentLast year, a customer wrote to us with a number of very important questions concerning the timing of tick treatments. Because the egg-laying season of ticks in the Bucks County and Montgomery County areas in once again upon us, we figured this would be an ideal time of year to share our response with all of you.

—Peter Benz (Founder, Peter Benz Landscaping)

* * * * * * *

Q. When do adult ticks lay their eggs and hatch?

Adult ticks will lay their eggs in the spring, which will then hatch into larvae in the summer season. The larvae tend to become most active in the month of August. At this point, these ticks do not have Lyme disease, because they must feed on an infected host in order to become infected.

Q. What are the life stages of a tick?

A tick has three life stages over a two-year period. There is one blood meal (feeding) per stage before they molt into the next stage. Remember, though, that a newly hatched larvae cannot pass Lyme disease onto a human, because they don’t yet have the disease. The disease must be picked up from an infected host. That host is usually a mouse.

After its one blood meal, the larvae will transform into nymphs in the fall. This is the most dangerous life-stage of a deer tick, because they are still as tiny as larvae, but may now be carriers of Lyme disease.

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The Definitive Guide to Preventing Lyme Disease

lyme disease preventionSpring is almost here, and so it’s time once again to turn our attention to preventing Lyme disease. Everyone is susceptible to Lyme disease, especially those who garden, hike, camp or play outdoors on a regular basis.

Did you know the CDC has estimated that some 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States? (Incredibly, less than 30,000 cases are reported annually.) People who live in the Northeastern, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwestern states are especially vulnerable to Lyme disease.

Let’s take a look at a few different ways to prevent Lyme disease.
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5 Reasons Professional Deer Fence Installation is a Must

deer fence installation

You don’t want this happening on your property.

Deer fencing is a unique addition to any yard or recreational area, and in the Bucks County and Montgomery County areas, homeowners are looking into the addition of deer fencing because of its many advantages.

A deer fence is much higher than a conventional fence. A regular privacy fence is fine if you’re only trying to seclude yourself, but they’re often not high enough to keep deer and other wild animals off your property.

An adult deer, after all, can jump as high as eight feet. In order to effectively keep them outside your private area, the fence clearly must be high enough to keep them from jumping over it. Not only do deer cause great destruction, but they can also spread Lyme disease by carrying infected ticks onto your property.

Peter Benz Landscaping has been installing deer fencing for many years to prevent deer from destroying everything from residential gardens to commercial orchards and nurseries, while also assisting with deer tick control.

But whether you choose Peter Benz or another area landscaper to install deer fencing on your Bucks or Montgomery property, we nevertheless strongly suggest having the installation completed by a professional.

Here are five important reasons why:

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