Ag Officials Expand Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Sep 28, 2012

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is expanding its quarantine to halt the spread of a beetle that destroys ash trees.

The invasive species known as the Emerald Ash Borer spreads by hitching a ride on firewood, so the quarantine regulates the movement of ash wood products.

The Emerald Ash Borer was first found in southeast Missouri’s Wayne County in 2008, and pretty much stayed put until this summer, when agriculture officials discovered the half-inch long beetle in neighboring Madison and Reynolds Counties, as well as Platte County near Kansas City.

The quarantine was expanded to include those counties and Carter, Iron, Shannon, and Clay.

Missouri Department of Agriculture director Dr. Jon Hagler says people should never move firewood from one place to another in order to avoid spreading the insect.

“A lot of people want to camp and they want to have fires, particularly here in the fall when the weather gets cool,” Hagler said. “When you do that, you have the opportunity if you are moving that firewood to move a pest that may be isolated in one region and move it out of that region and spread it.”

Dr. Hagler says the ash tree plays an important economic role.

“The ash tree is a tree that’s significant in landscaping. It grows fast, has a beautiful canopy, and a lot of our urban, suburban, and communities landscapes all across our state are dotted with ash trees. Obviously it impacts the recreational industry as well with 50% of baseball bats coming from ash,” Dr. Hagler says.

Hagler says the timber industry can still move ash logs from the quarantined areas after inspection.