Do you like to camp? Are campfires a part of your plan? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds you to be safe and have fun this spring and summer, but please don’t move firewood. Otherwise, you may be inadvertently spreading an insect invader that’s wreaking havoc across the United States. In this week’s installment of Discover Nature, we recognize Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week.
Emerald ash borers (EAB) are small, dark green, metallic beetles growing to only a half-inch long. Adult beetles nibble on foliage, causing little harm to trees. However, EAB larvae cause serious damage by feeding just below the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, and eventually killing the trees. All of Missouri’s native ashes can be affected.
With few effective predators to control the EAB population, and no method for total eradication, slowing the spread of this invasive species is the best way to protect Missouri’s ash trees.
EAB was first discovered in the US in Michigan in 2002, and eventually in Missouri in 2008. People have accidentally spread EAB, unknowingly carrying the pest with them when bringing firewood on a picnic or camping trip.
You can help by not moving firewood. Instead, buy firewood from local sources near where you plan to burn it. Missouri’s ash population thanks you.
Learn more about emerald ash borers and how you can help protect Missouri’s ash trees with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide, and find more resources at DontMoveFirewood.org.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.