Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Restricts Movement of Firewood

August 2015

An adult emerald ash borer is 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, slightly smaller than a nickel.  Photo courtesy of Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org.

An adult emerald ash borer is 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, slightly smaller than a nickel. Photo courtesy of Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services announced recently that Wake and Franklin counties have been added to the list of counties under an emerald ash borer quarantine after ash borers were confirmed in both counties.

Quarantine rules restrict the movement of hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock and other materials made with ash.

The emerald ash borer is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees across the country, according to the Department of Agriculture. The half-inch-long insect can kill ash trees of all sizes, whether they are healthy or weak.

First detected in Michigan, the pest has spread to North Carolina to threaten all species of ash including white, green, black, blue, Carolina and pumpkin.

Humans have unwittingly spread the pest to other regions by moving firewood that contains emerald ash borer larvae. Eggs are laid beneath the bark or wood, and larvae are hard to detect.

Through a “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign, forestry experts remind citizens that it is best to buy firewood locally and use it within a 10-mile radius of where it was purchased. Campers are also urged to burn all wood before leaving their campsite to ensure that no emerald ash borers are left at the site.

Emerald Ash Borer closeup

The emerald ash borer has a purplish red back that is usually covered by its folded wings. Photo courtesy of David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org.

The Town of Wake Forest has 87 ash trees on public rights of way. However, the larger concern for the town’s tree population is the large number of ash trees located on private property, in open spaces within neighborhoods and forested areas. Wake Forest Urban Forestry Coordinator Jennifer Rall will be working with representatives from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the N.C. Forest Service to develop an action plan to address the monitoring, treatment, removal and replacement of ash trees over the next 10 years.

Homeowners who need help determining whether a tree on their property is an ash may visit www.emeraldashborer.info. The website provides complete information about the EAB infestation and how to tell if a tree is infected.

According to the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, signs and symptoms of EAB include D-shaped exit holes, meandering galleries, dieback and thinning crowns, new growth from a previously dormant bud on the trunk or a limb of a tree (epicormic sprouting), vertical bark splitting and increased woodpecker activity. To view examples of these signs, visit http://na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/pest_al/eab/eab.pdf.