Gentle reminder: don’t transport firewood

Whether a summer campfire with s’mores or enjoying the crisp fall winds, a cozy, crackling fire sounds like just the thing to keep chills at bay.  Just be sure to acquire and burn your wood close to home, whether you purchase a cord now and then or split logs yourself.  Emerald ash borers, an invasive species just reaching Wisconsin, have already wiped out millions of trees.  Hitchhiking a ride on firewood is the most common way EAB spreads.  Unfortunately, the EAB larvae tunnel underneath the bark; since people can’t see the larvae, it’s easy to mistakenly assume wood is safe.  Don’t be a vector.

In addition to their beauty, ash trees offer ecological and economic benefits, including;

  • Produce oxygen and store carbon dioxide;
  • Create shade, thus maintaining cold water habitats needed by native fish species
  • Prevent erosion and contribute to wetlands;
  • Provide raw materials used in flooring, furniture, tool handles, baseball bats, and other secondary wood products.

Here’s how to tell whether an ash tree might be infested with the emerald ash borer:

  • A “D-shaped” hole in the bark, measuring an eighth of an inch wide, through which the adult beetle evacuated the tree.
  • Unusually high woodpecker activity caused by the additional feeding opportunities posed by the emerald ash borer larvae.

The insects are only 1/4 inch long.  If you think you’ve spotted an infested ash tree, contact APHIS, a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.