May 19-25 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week
Emerald ash borer, already known to infest 13 Wisconsin counties, threatens cityscapes and forests with its tree-killing ways. But it’s still possible to slow its spread, giving science a chance to find solutions and public and private land owners time to get replacement trees started.
That’s why Gov. Walker has proclaimed May 19-25 Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week – to draw Wisconsin citizens’ attention to the role they can play in the battle. This particular week was chosen nationwide because Memorial Day weekend May 25-27 is the beginning of the summer tourism season, when the risk is high for people to inadvertently move EAB and other pests to new areas on firewood.
“…Citizens and visitors alike should understand the potential effects of the EAB on the environment and the economy of Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region and the nation,” the Governor said in his proclamation.
People can help slow the spread of EAB and learn more about the pest by:
•Following all quarantine guidelines. For most people, that means not moving firewood out of the quarantine counties listed below.
•Buying firewood near camp sites instead of bringing it from home, or buying it from a state-certified firewood vendor. The list of vendors is at http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Plants/pdf/CertifiedFirewoodDealers.pdf.
•Learning about the signs of EAB infestation. Visit www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov.
•Report ash trees that show signs of infestation by calling the EAB hotline toll-free at 1-800-462-2803 or [email protected].
Brian Kuhn, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, says, “When we set up a booth at a Milwaukee sports show this winter, we were pleased that so many of the people we talked to were aware that firewood can be a big problem when it comes to moving EAB and other pests to new areas. But we do still have some work to do to get the word out, because the part of the state that is infested is also the part of the state that is most densely populated. That’s where many of the tourists come from who head up north for vacation.”
Since 2008, EAB infestations have been confirmed in Brown, Crawford, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. Those counties and two other adjacent counties – Fond du Lac and Sheboygan – are under quarantine. The quarantine means that hardwood cannot be moved out of the counties without an agreement with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
EAB attacks all species of North American ash trees. In Wisconsin, ash species comprise an average of 20 percent of municipal trees and number approximately 765 million in the state’s forested areas. The EAB larvae kill ash trees by destroying the soft layer of wood just under the bark that moves water and nutrients throughout the tree.
Emerald ash borer is native to Asia. It was discovered near Detroit in 2002. Since then, it has spread to 18 states and two Canadian provinces, primarily through infested firewood. The beetle has killed millions of trees.
Wisconsin’s EAB program is a cooperative effort of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA-Forest Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and UW-Extension.