While it may be tempting to bring your own firewood on your next float trip, transporting firewood could spread harmful tree insects like the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and emerald ash borer (EAB) into new areas of the country. Both insects have been detected in 13 states and could spread if more of the public aren’t aware of the threat to the Nation’s forests and don’t take the steps necessary to prevent the spread of these harmful insects. There are several ways you and your family can make a difference.
Buy firewood when you arrive at the campground. Most recreational areas have firewood for sale but it’s always a good idea to check when you make your reservations. Be sure to ask if the firewood was cut locally. You should always buy locally cut firewood and burn it all at your destination. If you don’t burn it all, leave it at the campground. Bringing it back home could spread the insects to a new area where wood-boring insects could damage the trees in your yard.
Controlling firewood pests is a matter of controlling the firewood itself. Whether you are burning wood at your home or while camping on your next float trip, here are some helpful tips for preventing the spread of Asian longhorned beetles and emerald ash borers:
Store your firewood away from your tent, RV, house or any buildings. When you store wood against your home or any building you’re inviting wood-boring insects to reside within the structure. Store your firewood at least 3 feet away from your home or any building. Keep your firewood stacked off the ground on concrete blocks, bricks or firewood grates. This will maintain airflow beneath the pile, reducing moisture problems that attract wood-boring insects. You should also store firewood away from trees so if you have any insects in your woodpile they don’t crawl over to any live trees and tunnel beneath their bark, causing severe damage.
Always store your firewood outside. Storing firewood in your home, the basement or in your garage brings wood-boring insects inside and closer to the wood structure of your home. Besides these insects, a firewood pile provides an attractive harborage for rodents and other wildlife. If you plan to cut your own firewood from trees on your property, it’s best to do so in late summer to late fall to minimize new wood-boring infestations. Any wood you cut in summer or late summer should be piled in a sunny area and covered to kill any insects boring in the wood.
Store your older logs on top of your wood pile, using the oldest logs first. This keeps pests at a minimum and prevents you from carrying infested firewood into your home though it’s still a good idea to inspect each log, looking them over, shaking them and even knocking them together. Be sure to purchase wood that’s been cut locally for burning in your fireplace at home. If you’re not sure the wood is from a local source, burn this wood as soon as possible to kill any pests in the wood. Be sure to burn firewood immediately, especially if you’ve brought any indoors. Wood-boring insects like the warmth of your home as much as you do.
When you and your family burn firewood that’s been cut locally you’re doing your part to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetles and emerald ash borers.