What Happened to the Cool Shade in Summer?
WASHINGTON, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — It’s a simple plea that could protect countless numbers of ash trees from a devastating pest: Don’t move firewood.
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Firewood might look harmless, but it’s what you can’t see that is most concerning. The emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle is a devastating forest pest. It lives in firewood. People unknowingly contribute to the spread of this pest when they move EAB-infested firewood.
Tens of millions of ash trees, from forests to neighborhoods, have been killed by the emerald ash borer beetle. Since it was first detected in North America, the beetle has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“The risk doesn’t end at the borders of these infested states,” said Sharon Lucik, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “The adult beetle doesn’t fly far on its own, however it can be transported hundreds of miles when people move firewood. EAB larvae live underneath the bark of ash firewood, and when it’s moved from one place to another, EAB can hitchhike to a new location.”
Forest pests contribute to the destruction of critical habitat for wildlife and negatively impact our quality of life and leisure. EAB is a serious threat to North America’s urban and rural forests and is so aggressive that ash trees may die within two or three years after becoming infested. The damage caused by the beetle is irreversible.
Federal, state, and local governments are marking EAB Awareness Week with an urgent call to citizens to leave firewood behind. This simple action can make a tremendous difference in the fight against this destructive pest.
USDA recommends the following guidelines to help stop the EAB:
- Burn firewood where you buy it
- Don’t take it to your campsite
- Buy it at your destination
- Don’t bring it home, burn it all on site
For more information, visit www.stopthebeetle.info
ABOUT USDA APHIS: With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.