Protect our forests… don’t move firewood!!!
- South Carolina’s forests are threatened by invasive insects and diseases.
- Firewood can be infested with many of these insects or diseases; moving firewood can transport these pests to new areas much faster than many of these pests can move naturally.
- Use local firewood, firewood grown and cut within 50 miles of where it will be burned. The more local, the better!
- If you have already moved firewood, the best way to dispose of it is to burn it completely.
- DO NOT treat fire wood with pesticides! Burning treated wood could cause serious health problems!
A few of the more important pests that can hitch rides in firewood include:
|The emerald ash borer:|
This metallic green beetle lays its eggs in the bark of ash trees. The larvae that emerge eat galleries in the bark that disrupt the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately killing the tree. Ash trees are important forest trees, providing valuable timber products including baseball bats, tool handles and other items requiring strength and resilience. Ash trees are also important urban trees, often planted in suburban neighborhoods and cities. The larvae and pupae of this beetle may be found in firewood and adults may be found on it.
|Redbay Ambrosia Beetle:|
These minute beetles bore into the bark of a number of trees in the laurel family, including redbay, camphor, sassafras, and avocado. Like all ambrosia beetles, they carry with them a fungus which grows in the vascular system of the infested trees. Some infested trees, including redbay and avocado, try to defend themselves from the fungus by blocking up the vascular system, but this ends up killing the tree by blocking the flow of water. Other, native, ambrosia beetles that infest wood with the fungus can thin transmit it to new hosts. The larvae and pupae of this beetle may be found in firewood and the adults may be found on it.
|Asian long-horned beetles:|
Like the emerald ash borers, these beetles lay eggs on trees and the larvae chew galleries in the wood of the tree, reducing the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients and reduce structural support of branches so they are more susceptible to wind damage. Feeding by these beetles also opens trees to attack by other pests. Asian long-horned beetles attack a number of hardwood trees, but are most commonly found in maples, willows and elms. The larvae and pupae of this beetle may be found in firewood and the adults may be found on it.
|Walnut twig beetle:|
This minute beetle infests the bark of walnut trees and transmits the fungus that causes thousand cankers disease. The fungus disrupts the tree’s ability to transport nutrients and the tree dies as a result. The larvae and pupae of this beetle may be found in firewood and the adults may be found on it.
The caterpillars of this moth can defoliate hardwood forests. Females of the European species are flightless, but their egg masses can be found on a number of items, including firewood and vehicles, allowing them to spread much faster. There is also an Asian species whose females are capable fliers, but not moving firewood still helps. Eggs of the gypsy moth may be found on firewood.
For more information visit http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/.
Photo of emerald ash borer: L. Bauer, USDA Forest Service, N.R.S., Bugwood.org
Photo of redbay ambrosia beetle: M.C. Thomas, FL Dept. of Ag and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Photos of Asian long-horned borer and walnut twig borer: S. Valley, Oregon Dept. of Ag., Bugwood.org
Photo of gypsy moth: B. McNee, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org