Purdue University experts say buy and burn your holiday firewood locally. Being selective about firewood can help prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.
Although this insect is inactive during the winter months in Indiana, its larvae hibernate under the bark of ash wood until warmer weather arrives in spring. This means moving firewood, even now, can spread the devastating insect - and other diseases of trees and invasive species - to new areas.
All of Indiana is under a federal quarantine that restricts the movement of all hardwood firewood into any other state. Violation of the quarantine can result in fines totaling thousands of dollars.
"On its own, the emerald ash borer only spreads about a half mile annually, but sadly, infestations have occurred in many new places because unsuspecting people have accidentally moved it in their firewood," said Purdue entomologist Jodie Ellis.
"It used to be that Michigan, Ohio and Indiana were the only states where the emerald ash borer was a problem, but it's now been spread to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland and West Virginia."
Following state and federal quarantines when purchasing firewood can help slow the spread. In 20 Indiana counties, it is illegal to move all kinds of hardwood firewood outside the county without a compliance agreement from the Department of Natural Resources.
"The best thing to do is buy all firewood, whether it's for camping or heating your home, near the place where you'll burn it," Ellis said. "Avoid stockpiling firewood beyond one season's needs, if possible. It's best to burn all firewood before spring, and make sure you are educated on firewood regulations."
For more information about he Emerald Ash Borer visit http://www.entm.purdue.edu/EAB