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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Help Save Connecticut's Trees

The state  Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is asking that anyone thinking of  summer travel and camping "help prevent the introduction and spread of destructive wood pests, like the Asian Longhorned Beetle... by buying and burning firewood near their vacation or camping destination," according to a release.

 “Harmful forest insects often spend a portion of their lifecycle as larvae inside the trunk and branches of trees and folks transporting infested firewood from one location to another may unknowingly move insect pests,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee, also in the release  "Purchasing firewood locally rather than transporting it from home is a best management practice that reduces the risk of spread of these destructive pests.”

State Entomologist Dr. Kirby Stafford of the New Haven-based Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, also noted: “We continue to see adverse impacts on our trees and forests by introduced insect pests such as the hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, winter moth, and most recently, the southern pine beetle.”
 
“Buying and burning firewood locally is one way Connecticut’s citizens and visitors can help prevent the introduction or spread of some of these exotic, destructive insects," Stafford said in the release.

 
"The ALB is currently the greatest – but not the only – threat to the trees of Connecticut. The nearest infestation is within 30 miles of our border with Massachusetts, where Federal and State agricultural and forestry officials continue to eradicate the ALB infestation within a110 square mile quarantine zone in Worcester and surrounding towns. This effort has resulted in the cutting of more than 34,000 trees, and since October 2008 has cost the U.S. Department of Agriculture over $146 million. In New York, 137 square miles are under ALB regulation which includes the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and a portion of central Long Island. "

 
Also in the release (shared unedited here): 

Emerald Ash Borer

 Another danger to the trees of our state is posed by the Emerald Ash Borer.  As a result of the presence of this beetle throughout much of Connecticut, there are restrictions on moving untreated firewood out-of state to New York and Rhode Island. Most New England State campgrounds and National Forest and Park campgrounds prohibit out-of state firewood. In addition to firewood confiscation, violators could face steep fines. 

The DEEP and CAES recommend the following steps to prevent wood movement: 

·         Purchase all firewood near your camp or seasonal home destination instead of bringing it from home. 

·         Burn all wood purchased at your camp or seasonal home destination and do not carry it back home with you.
DEEP is participating in a national program that seeks to heighten public awareness regarding the environmental dangers of moving firewood over long distances. This includes all wood intended to be burned including pine now that Southern Pine beetle has been discovered in Connecticut this past March.  For more information, visit the Don't Move Firewood website.

RECOMMENDATIONS IF PEOPLE SUSPECT ALB INFESTATION IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD

Suspected infestations of ALB or beetles should be reported to The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at Caes.StateEntomologist@ct.gov or the Office of the State Entomologist at 203-974-8474 or 203-974-8485. Reports can also be submitted to the Asian Longhorned beetle New England hotline number 866-702-9938.

HISTORY OF ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE

 The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was first discovered attacking trees in the United States in New York City in 1996. ALB probably travelled to the United States inside solid wood packing material from China.  The beetle has been intercepted at ports of entry and found in warehouses in various locations around the United States. 

This beetle is a serious pest in China, where it kills hardwood trees.  In the United States, the beetle prefers maple species including boxelder, Norway, red, silver and sugar maples.  Other native preferred tree species include the birches, elms, horse chestnut, and willows. 

 Currently the only effective way to eradicate ALB is to remove infested trees and destroy them by chipping or burning.  To prevent further spread of the insect, quarantines are established to regulate movement of articles that could carry lifestages of the pest including all firewood. Early detection of infestations and rapid response are crucial to successful eradication of the beetle.
United States Department of Agriculture
 

 
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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