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Tag Archive | "emerald ash borer"

State urges travelers to leave firewood at home

Perfectly round exit holes, just smaller than a dime, in tree limbs and trunks can be a sign of Asian longhorned beetle infestation. Photo courtesy of Joe Boggs, Ohio State University, Bugwood.org.

Perfectly round exit holes, just smaller than a dime, in tree limbs and trunks can be a sign of Asian longhorned beetle infestation. Photo courtesy of Joe Boggs, Ohio State University, Bugwood.org.

As the summer travel season begins, the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources remind vacationers to leave firewood at home to prevent the spread of invasive tree insects and diseases.

Hauling firewood from one part of the state to another is a common way for these destructive pests to move to new locations, which could be devastating to Michigan’s native trees. The emerald ash borer already has wiped out millions of ash trees across the state. High-impact diseases, including oak wilt and beech bark disease, now are making their way through Michigan – often helped by travelers with trunkloads of wood harboring unseen fungi that can spread to healthy trees in new areas.

The fungus that causes oak wilt is visible under the bark of this split log.

The fungus that causes oak wilt is visible under the bark of this split log.

“Visual inspection does not always reveal disease or insect damage in wood,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division director. “Disease may be in an early stage, and insect larvae can be hidden under bark. The safest choice is to burn firewood at or near the location it was harvested.”

Travelers are encouraged to buy firewood at their destination, burn it all on-site and not take it home or to their next destination. In most public and private campgrounds, firewood is available on the premises or from nearby firewood vendors.

It is a good idea to purchase firewood within a short distance of where it will be used. For ease in finding a local vendor, use www.firewoodscout.org. For day trips that include a cookout, bring charcoal or a cook-stove instead of firewood.

In- and out-of-state quarantines limit movement of regulated wood items to prevent the spread of invasive species and tree diseases. In Michigan, it is illegal to transport hardwood firewood in violation of the MDARD EAB Quarantine.

“It’s recommended that travelers do a little firewood homework before their trip,” said Jason Fleming, chief of the Resource Management Section in the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Many out-of-state visitors live in areas under quarantine for pests such as thousand cankers disease or Asian longhorned beetle, and it is illegal to move any regulated items (including items such as firewood and wood chips) from quarantined zones out of those states and into Michigan.”

Quarantines for Asian longhorned beetle include areas of New York, Massachusetts and Ohio. The Asian longhorned beetle is not known to be in Michigan, but the public is asked to look for signs of this invasive beetle, including round, 3/8-inch-diameter exit holes in tree trunks or limbs. Asian longhorned beetle larvae feed on a wide variety of tree species including maple, birch, elm, willow, buckeye, horse chestnut and other hardwoods. The damage caused by Asian longhorned beetles ultimately will destroy an infested tree.

Anyone observing an actual beetle or a tree that appears to be damaged is asked to report it. If possible, capture the beetle in a jar, take photos, record the location, and report it as soon as possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Asian longhorned beetle website, www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com or contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov.

More information on the Asian longhorned beetle and other invasive forest insects and tree diseases can be found at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. Select the “take action” tab to learn more ways to avoid transporting invasive species during the recreation and travel season.

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Emerald Ash Borer

Ash firewood with EAB damage. Photo by Troy Kimoto, www.forestryimages.com

Ash firewood with EAB damage.
Photo by Troy Kimoto, www.forestryimages.com

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche
By Ranger Steve Mueller

Cedar Springs removed Ash Trees that were killed by the exotic Emerald Ash Borer. Different species were used to replace killed trees. This is happening in cities, towns, and villages throughout Michigan and other areas. People’s yards have dying ash trees. The epidemic is not normal in a healthy functioning ecosystem.
So what is not healthy about the ecosystem in Cedar Springs and other affected regions? It is not a new story but it one that evades many people’s attention. Early European people unknowingly carried diseases that were not usually lethal to them but were devastating and killed most Native Americans. Native Americans had not developed immunities over a period of centuries and suddenly introduced diseases caused massive deaths among native peoples.
A fungal blight unknowingly brought to North America almost completely eliminated the American Chestnut trees from the Oak-Hickory-Chestnut dominated forest in eastern US. The chestnut had not evolved with the fungus and they had developed no defenses. The remaining eastern forest is now described as Oak-Hickory Forest. The American Chestnut was an important species in the economy of early America and would still be if it continued to thrive.
Elm trees were devastated by the exotic Dutch the Elm Disease. Again the species had not developed immunities. Each of those species has unique nature niche stories regarding their demise. A common factor that all share is human caused introduction of exotics resulted in the ecological and economic loss. Many native species depended on those species and when they died it cause death or reduction for many other additional species.
Last summer I noticed the Emerald Ash Borer had infected and killed trees on neighbors’ property. I knew for years it was matter of time of before our area would experience massive deaths. I was told an inoculation costing about $35 per tree could save the tree. Repeated treatment every couple years would be necessary. With well over a hundred large ash trees at Ody Brook it not a feasible option.
This past winter I noticed most of the large ash trees at Ody Brook were riddled by woodpeckers. They remove bark on the trunks to feast on emerald ash borer larvae. Unfortunately, the help from woodpeckers was too little too late. The adult borers are members of the flat-headed woodborer beetle family. Many native species of borers thrive here with checks and balances that prevent them from wiping out their food source. Not so for the exotic species.
The emerald beetles first appeared in the Detroit and it is thought they probably arrived in packing material. The population was noticed in 2002 and rapidly expanded killing tens of millions of dollars worth of ash trees in Michigan. They eliminated trees that provide food for hundreds of native insects, birds, and mammals. The adults emerge from under the bark in spring and feed on ash leaves where damage is minor and not noticeable. Females lay more than 100 eggs on the bark. Eggs hatch about two weeks later and borrow through the bark to feed on the phloem. Phloem is the layer that transports water, minerals, and food upward to branches. This is where deadly damage occurs.
The larvae in the phloem cause lethal damage and treetops show evidence of dying. Within a couple years, the trees die. Ash trees will sprout new shoots from roots and it will help prevent complete loss of the tree species. When the shoot sprouts get large enough, they too will be killed. Google Emerald Ash Borer for details about the insect’s life cycle and impact on our economy and nature niches.
Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

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