DEEP: DEP And Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Remind Connecticut Campers And Vacationers To Leave Firewood At Home This Memorial Day Weekend

May 21, 2009

DEP and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment
Station Remind Connecticut Campers
and Vacationers To Leave Firewood
at Home this Memorial Day Weekend

Purchase firewood locally to reduce the spread of the
Asian Longhorned Beetle and other pests

With the start of the summer season this Memorial Day Weekend, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) are asking campers, vacationers and Connecticut citizens not to transport firewood to prevent the spread of Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and other wood pests

The Asian Longhorned Beetle is a serious pest that can kill hardwood trees that are common in Connecticut. This past August, federal agricultural officials confirmed the presence of ALB in nearby Worcester, Massachusetts and there is concern that it could spread into Connecticut. Approximately 64 square miles in Worcester and surrounding towns are regulated due to the ALB infestation. Infested trees are being removed and destroyed.

ALB has NOT been found in Connecticut to date. Due to the proximity of ALB infestations in New York City, Carteret, NJ, and Worcester, MA, Connecticut residents and visitors must be on the look out for this pest and take steps to prevent movement of wood that could carry insects to new locations in our state.

The DEP 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.

DEP Forestry Director Chris Martin said, "’Don’t Move Firewood’ is a message for all New Englanders who love and care for our forests. Harmful forest insects often spend a portion of their lifecycle as larvae inside the trunk and branches of trees. Folks moving infested firewood from one location to another may unknowingly move insect pests. Purchasing firewood locally rather than transporting it from home is a best management practice that reduces the risk of spread of these destructive pests."

According to Connecticut State Entomologist Dr. Kirby Stafford, "the presence of the Asian Longhorned beetle in Worcester so near our northern border and the fact that the infestation is probably over 10 years old increases the possibility that the beetle could have been transported into Connecticut, although we have not yet found the beetle in Connecticut. The movement of infested firewood or other wood material is the primary way new infestations get established. Not moving firewood really is one of the best ways to help protect our forests and urban trees. We also need people to report suspected beetles or beetle infestations to us."

DEP State Parks Director Pam Adams said, "We want campers to enjoy their stay in our state parks this summer and through this effort we will help to ensure our state parks and forests will remain beautiful and insect free."

IMPACT TO CONNECTICUT

Any tree infested with the ALB is going to die because the larvae tunneling in the wood prevents the tree from receiving the nutrition it needs to survive. ALB takes several years to kill a tree, but if an infested tree is left alone, it will be home to generations of beetles that will spread to neighboring host trees. If wood is moved from the infested area, new locations are also at risk. To prevent this, infested trees need to be removed as early as possible, and in certain circumstances high risk trees will be removed. The earlier an infestation is found and reported, the quicker federal, state and local officials can work together to eradicate this pest. Small infestations are much easier to manage and have less impact on the environment and citizens

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.

For more information on the Asian Longhorned Beetle visit the following websites:

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry www.ct.gov/dep/forestry

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2829&q=378210

United States Department of Agriculture
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/asian_lhb/index.shtml