MADISON – The entire state of Wisconsin will be placed under quarantine for emerald ash borer, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced recently. The quarantine will be effective Friday, March 30.
Until now, quarantines have been imposed county by county, but now that EAB is in 48 of the state’s 72 counties, officials have decided a statewide quarantine is warranted. However, they still discourage moving firewood within the state.
“The county-by-county quarantines have helped slow the spread of EAB over the past decade,” said Brian Kuhn, director of DATCP’s Plant Industry Bureau. “They gave communities time to plan and spread the costs of removing and replacing trees on a schedule ahead of the infestation.”
To date, EAB has been found in all of the counties in the southern half of the state, and seven northern counties. Currently, all but two Wisconsin counties are either under quarantine or adjacent to a quarantined county in the state or a neighboring state.
Quarantines require businesses handling ash wood, untreated ash products and hardwood firewood to sign agreements specifying how they will reduce the risk of moving EAB into non-quarantined areas, and prohibit moving firewood from quarantined areas to non-quarantined areas.
With the entire state under quarantine, wood can move freely between counties within Wisconsin. Businesses that move regulated items out of state will need to work with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to confirm interstate requirements. These are items such as ash wood with bark still on it, larger ash chips, and any kind of hardwood firewood.
Firewood restrictions will remain on state and federal lands. Kuhn recommended that campers and other tourists buy wood near the campgrounds or cabins where they intend to burn it, or that they buy firewood that bears the DATCP-certified mark, meaning it has been seasoned or heat-treated to kill pests.
“We don’t want to speed the spread of EAB or any other pests and diseases through the movement of firewood,” explained Kuhn. “Firewood can carry pests and diseases such as oak wilt to new areas – or even new pests and diseases that we’re not even aware of yet.”
Other recommendations for property owners:
• Watch ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation: Thinning in the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark, and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
• If your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation, consider preventive treatments. Whether to treat depends on several factors: the age of the trees, the size of the trees, and the number of trees. Treatment costs vary depending on size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional.
• Consider planting species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
• Contact a professional arborist for expert advice, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.
• Emerald ash borer is native to China and probably entered the United States on packing material, showing up first in Michigan in 2002. It was first found in eastern Wisconsin in 2008.
County-by-county quarantines for gypsy moth still exist. For additional information on firewood movement, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/MovingFirewood.aspx.