JACKSONTOWN- Some say Memorial Day Weekend is the beginning of summer, but it looks like spring is still in full bloom. Dawes Arboretum explodes with color in late May. Dawes was also the setting Wednesday afternoon for a slightly somber event, where representatives of the Ohio Department of Agriculture warned the public about the dangers of the Emerald Ash Borer-a non-native insect threatening to drive Ohio's ash trees to extinction. The borer found its way to the United States, likely aboard ships importing wood. Citizens who simply move firewood from place to place help to spread the Emerald Ash Borer all over Ohio and the nation. May 18 through 24 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week.
"Along our streets, in our parks and filling our forests, ash trees are staples in Ohio's landscape and are key environmental components," said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs in an ODA news release. "The Emerald Ash Borer (or EAB) is a threat to this valued natural resource, and I encourage all Ohioans to protect our trees by buying and burning local firewood."
EAB Awareness Week is part of a regional effort to bring light to the EAB effects on Ohio's ash trees and the risks involved with moving firewood across the state. EAB Awareness Week also showcases the commonality of ash trees in Ohio's countryside since nearly one out of every ten trees is ash. To increase awareness for the week, volunteers across Ohio are participating in an ash-tree-tagging initiative with signs and caution tape to remind citizens about the importance of the state's ash tree resources. Volunteer groups plan to tag ash trees in areas throughout Ohio, including municipal streets, zoos, private and public campgrounds, as well as bike and walking trails. Several municipalities will hang nearly 400 metal "Don't Move Firewood" signs as a reminder for citizens to buy and burn local firewood.
EAB threatens the state's
fivebillion ash trees and has been identified in 35 of the state's 88 counties. For the time being, said Boggs, the insects have not been found in Licking or Perry counties, which are not under quarantine. However, Fairfield County is under quarantine.
To slow the spread of the devastating insect, a state quarantine makes it illegal to move hardwood firewood and ash tree materials, which could harbor the pest, from 41 quarantined counties. Violators could face fines up to $4,000. A federal quarantine in place also makes it illegal to take hardwood firewood out of the state of Ohio without federal certification.So far, Ohio has spent $24 million to battle the insect.
Ash trees infested with EAB typically die within fiveyears. This invasive pest belongs to a group of metallic-colored, woodboring beetles. Adults are dark metallic green, one-half inch long, one-eighth inch wide, and flyfrom May until September. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees, damaging the trees' water and nutrient transporting tissues. When the larvae emerge as adults, they leave behind one-eighth inch Dshaped exit holes in the bark.