The emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to move across Illinois, devastating ash trees in its path. It was most recently found in Peoria and Tazewell counties. Rhonda Ferree, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, says that the an effective way to stop EAB is to not move firewood. "While enjoying campfires and wiener roasts this fall, take a moment to be sure the firewood you use is pest free."
Martha Smith, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, provides the following recommendations. "The beetle's eggs and larvae tunnel into the trees they infest." Cutting a tree into firewood does not kill EAB developing inside of it. Adult beetles can still emerge, infesting healthy trees when they do. Often, when discovered, EAB has been there for several years and ash trees are dying.
"Humans can unknowingly transport EAB hundreds of miles in firewood. That's why it is so important to make sure your wood is from local sources and to burn it where you buy it," Smith said.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture recommends you do not carry any unused firewood with you to your next destination. Don't carry it across county or state lines. The best approach is to not move firewood from your property, and definitely don't move wood out of quarantine areas. At many parks and campgrounds, firewood is sold on site. In fact, some state parks will not even allow people to supply their own firewood. As an extra precaution, crews are regularly sent out to collect any remaining firewood and burn it.
"When purchasing any firewood, always ask about its origins," Smith said. "Ask if it is from a local source. Once cut, it is difficult to tell what kind of wood it is; therefore movement of all hardwood firewood, including ash, oak, maple and hickory, is regulated. Try not to keep firewood stored at home.
"Before the onset of spring, be sure to burn your remaining supply of firewood to eliminate the chance of spreading any larvae. Take the oath and promise not to move firewood."
For more information, visit www.stopthebeetle.info.
For information on EAB in Illinois, visit www.agr.state.il.us/eab/index.php.