Wednesday, September 8, 2010

All of Ohio now under emerald ash borer quarantine

It was only a matter of time before Ohio waved the white flag and announced that the emerald ash borer is a statewide threat.

Thus the Ohio Department of Agriculture has placed each and every one of Ohio's 88 counties under the state’s emerald ash borer quarantine.

Department officials announced through a statement made today that the quarantine stipulates that ash tree materials and hardwood firewood cannot be taken from a quarantined area into a non-quarantined area.

Despite the fact that quarantining the whole state will allow for ease of movement of ash materials and hardwood firewood, it is recommended that Ohioans continue to exercise caution when moving these materials, the Agriculture Department notes.

“Limiting firewood movement helps the state protect against the artificial spread of many pests in addition to emerald ash borer, including gypsy moth and Asian longhorned beetle,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “The Department strongly urges Ohioans to continue buying firewood locally.”

The federal quarantine, enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, remains in effect. This quarantine makes it illegal to transport ash trees, parts of ash trees and all hardwood firewood out of the state of Ohio.

Ash trees infested with emerald ash borer typically die within five years. The pest belongs to a group of metallic wood-boring beetles.

Adult ash borers are dark green, one-half inch in length, one-eighth inch wide and fly from early May until September. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees and leave D-shaped holes in the bark about one-eighth inch wide when they emerge as adults.

So dangerous is the threat from emerald ash borers - an invasive species from China and believed to have come to America in wooden pallets - that the nation's entire ash tree population is at high risk.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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