Save the syrup, don’t move firewood
No offense to “Aunt Jemima,” but nothing beats the taste of pure maple syrup poured over freshly made pancakes or waffles. Sadly, the availability of this delicious breakfast condiment is at risk thanks to the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle.
What does a tiny beetle have to do with maple syrup? The answer: The Asian longhorned beetle kills maple trees and travels on infested firewood, and with no natural predators in North America, native trees have no resistance to their tunneling and chewing. To control this infestation, many mature maple trees had to be removed, and many more will be cut down if the beetle keeps spreading.
And if you can’t bear the thought of slathering your breakfast with artificial syrup, fear not. The Nature Conservancy’s “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign has some simple advice for limiting the spread of infestation.
• Obtain firewood that was cut at most 50 miles from where you will burn it (ideally the closer to the burn site you purchase your firewood, the least likely you will be contributing to infestation by transporting infected wood).
• Don’t bring firewood from home. Even if it looks healthy, the wood could still harbor tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungal spores that could start a new and deadly infestation of forest pests.
• If you must move firewood, use commercially kiln-dried wood.
• If you are already using moved firewood, dispose of it safely by burning it soon and completely. Make sure to rake the storage area carefully and also burn the debris.
• Be sure to follow state and local regulations on firewood movement. For more information, visit your state agricultural department’s website.
“It might seem like a good idea to obtain some firewood from another area, or to take along firewood when going camping, but just one log can start a new infestation of the Asian longhorned beetle or other tree-killing pests,” said Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager, The Nature Conservancy. “By buying locally harvested wood, people can help protect their trees by not risking the accidental movement of insects and diseases that can affect entire forests.”
Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for more ways you can help prevent foreign pests from destroying forests.