State agricultural officials have placed a quarantine on firewood from three counties due to a destructive insect infestation. Pest control crews have found evidence of a beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer for the first time in North Carolina. It makes its home in ash trees and kills them over a period of two to three years. The quarantine applies to any wood products made from ash trees in Granville, Person and Vance Counties.
Phil Wilson of the state Agriculture Department says the bug spreads by flying from tree to tree or by lumber transportation.
“That's what we're trying to prevent–that man-made movement,” he says. “The natural movement, we may not have very much luck in slowing that down. I envision this potentially spreading over time, but it has to have ash trees to continue to survive out there.”
Ash trees are denser in central and western North Carolina. Wilson says similar quarantines have been in effect recently for gypsum moth infestations and a fungus called Thousand Cankers Disease that affects walnuts.
Learn more: NC Forest Service FAQ's on the Emerald Ash Borer