Campers getting started on the summer vacation season this Memorial Day weekend should help protect Indiana forests from the devastating emerald ash borer by obeying a new state rule regulating movement of firewood, Purdue University's exotic forest pest outreach coordinator advises.
Annemarie Nagle of the Department of Entomology pointed out that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has implemented a rule requiring that all firewood brought onto state properties must either be accompanied by a state or federal compliance agreement, be kiln-dried scrap lumber, or be completely debarked if brought from within Indiana. Firewood brought into Indiana from another state without a federal compliance agreement is illegal.
"By placing restrictions on firewood, DNR hopes to protect public forests from not only the emerald ash borer but also the next nasty bug that we don't know about yet," Nagle said. "Campers are encouraged to purchase firewood close to where they will burn it and to burn it completely before they leave."
A state emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine outlawing movement of any ash tree materials, such as branches and logs, out of its boundaries has been expanded to include all but 13 of Indiana's 92 counties. Those counties, all in the southeastern part of the state, are Crawford, Daviess, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh and Warrick.
An updated quarantine map is available at DNR's Entomology and Plant Pathology EAB website.
Nagle said suspected EAB infestations outside of the quarantine boundaries should be reported to DNR's toll-free Invasive Species Hotline at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC.
Gov. Mitch Daniels has declared May 20-26 Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week to remind Indiana residents to take steps to help control the insect.
The emerald ash borer, which kills all ash trees not treated with insecticides, has already destroyed trees in 51 counties. Nagle said that many local governments struggle with the cost of removing trees or treating them with insecticides.
"People can't rely on someone else to worry about EAB. Homeowners are the ones who suffer when the trees in their neighborhoods die," said Nagle, who manages the Neighbors Against Bad Bugs (NABB) program at Purdue. "Ash awareness is a big component of EAB awareness. People need to know what they'll lose if they do nothing. Neighborhoods that organize before EAB kills their trees end up saving money, and they have a say in preserving the tree cover."
NABB helps neighborhood associations determine where their ash trees are and provides information on management.