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Chicago Emerald Ash Borer Central

Latest Emerald Ash Borer Information

Buy Firewood Locally

Posted by Ron Wolford -

The firewood season is here. Firewood can be purchased from individuals, dealers or retail stores, or many people cut their own firewood. However, a new pest to the northern Illinois area should encourage persons using ash wood as firewood to use local sources as much as possible. The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in several communities in northeastern Illinois this summer and fall.

As with the Asian Longhorned Beetle, which showed up in the Chicago area several years ago, the Illinois and U.S. Departments of Agriculture are working with communities and industry to try to control the spread. The Emerald Ash Borer only affects ash trees, unlike the Asian Longhorned Beetle which infested more than 10 types of common shade trees.

"One of the major helpful things that individuals can do to help reduce the spread of the pest is to use local firewood," says John Church, University of Illinois Extension Educator, Natural Resources, Rockford. Don't bring in firewood or other ash wood products from infested areas or from a long distance. If camping in infested areas, leave unused firewood at that site. If buying ash firewood for the winter, be sure of its source. Since the borers do not typically travel far on their own, reducing human transport can help reduce the potential spread of the problem. Areas identified with the Emerald Ash Borer are officially quarantined to restrict the movement of wood, wood products and the borer. However, individuals can follow similar guidelines voluntarily to help prevent the spread.

When purchasing firewood or other ash products, be a good observer. The borer lays eggs in the bark of the tree and when the borer hatches, it will tunnel under the bark and start feedingon the sapwood of the tree, leaving serpentine trails shallowly under the bark. Also, small D-shaped holes in the bark are also a clue, which are left by adult beetles leaving the sapwood. No other insect creates the BB-size D-shaped holes on ashes. Evaluating wood or trees prior to cutting for these exit holes is important as it is one of the signs of infestation. Peeling back the bark may also give an indication of trails and borer larvae.

For more information on the borer, contact the local University of Illinois Extension office or go to the website: http://www.mortonarb.org/plantinfo/plantclinic/EAB.htm. The site contains information from numerous agencies and organizations such as U. of I. Extension.

For additional information on firewood, its characteristics and purchase, go to the U. of I. Extension website: web.extension.uiuc.edu/forestry/timber_harvest/firewood.html.

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