Firewood Quarantine Still in Place in Ohio Despite Ash Borer Regulation Changes
Currently 51 counties in Ohio are regulated under the Gypsy Moth Quarantine.
When the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) expanded its emerald ash borer (EAB) quarantine last September to include all of Ohio's 88 counties, the movement of ash tree materials and hardwood firewood within the state apparently was no longer regulated - since the quarantine made it illegal for people to move those materials from a quarantined county into a non-quarantined county.
However, there's still a quarantine in place in Ohio that involves not EAB (an exotic beetle that kills ash trees), but another invasive, destructive insect: gypsy moth. Gypsy moth feeds on the leaves of various trees and shrubs, but it's particularly fond of oak. The severe defoliation caused by the caterpillar stage of this insect can lead to a tree's death.
Because female gypsy moths lay their eggs on a variety of surfaces, the gypsy moth quarantine is even more restrictive than that enacted to slow down the spread of EAB. It prohibits the movement of all firewood (not just hardwood) from a quarantined county into a non-quarantined county.
Other regulated items include trees and woody shrubs, including cut Christmas trees; logs, pulpwood, slab-wood and wood-bark chips; outdoor household articles such as tables, benches, chairs, doghouses, birdhouses, utility sheds, grills and garden equipment; and recreational vehicles, boats, trailers, tents and associated equipment. Also regulated are any other items that may carry a life stage of gypsy moth.
Currently, 51 Ohio counties (most in the eastern and northwestern parts of the state) are quarantined because of gypsy moth. A map is available at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/plant/gypsy/maps/GypsyMothQuarantineCounties.pdf .
ODA and Ohio State University Extension encourage people to abide by quarantine regulations and minimize the movement of firewood to avoid the further spread of invasive insects and diseases that threaten trees. A good practice is to obtain firewood locally and to burn it completely on-site.
"Transporting infested or infected firewood can result in a dramatically more rapid spread of these harmful pests," said Amy Stone, an OSU Extension educator who has worked in outreach programs for both gypsy moth and EAB. "When it comes to firewood, we are asking people to 'buy local and burn local.' Doing that will go a long way in protecting our natural resources."
In addition to the state quarantine for gypsy moth, the U.S. Department of Agriculture also has enacted quarantines for both gypsy moth and EAB that make it illegal to transport firewood and other regulated items out of the state of Ohio. Maps of these federal quarantines are available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/gypsy_moth/downloads/gypmoth.pdf and http://emeraldashborer.info/files/MultiState_EABpos.pdf .
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.