BREAKING: Firewood movement linked to new ALB location in Ohio

This just in! A press release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture has firmly pointed the finger at firewood movement in 2010 (before the ALB was discovered in OH, thus before the quarantine was in place) as the cause of a new location of ALB in the greater Ohio ALB infested area. Please note that the author of this press release is NOT Don't Move Firewood, it is the Ohio Department of Agriculture.


Ohio Department of Agriculture Announces New Discovery of Asian Longhorned Beetle in Clermont County

Firewood cited as source of new infestation

REYNOLDSBURG, OH (July 20, 2012) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), in collaboration with
the United States’ Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today
announced the discovery of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) on two properties in Stonelick Township
in Clermont County.

The center of the newly discovered infestation is on Possum Hollow Road within southern Stonelick
Township in Clermont County. State and federal officials cite the movement of firewood in 2010 from
Tate Township, prior to the current ALB quarantine zone being established, as the source of the new

APHIS and ODA inspection crews are surveying the surrounding areas to determine the extent of the
ALB infestation. Crews will inspect host tree species susceptible to ALB for signs of the wood‐boring
beetle using ground surveyors and specially trained tree climbers. Once the extent of the infestation is
evaluated, ODA will move to expand the ALB quarantine to include additional properties near the new
infestation. When available, a map of the regulated properties will be posted at
In September 2011, firewood movement from Tate Township was cited as the source of an ALB
infestation on properties in Monroe Township in Clermont County.

“To prevent the spread of this destructive insect, it is crucial that firewood not be moved from areas
known to have ALB,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA Division of Plant Health. “As we learn more about
where potentially infested material has moved in recent years, it is important for property owners
familiarize themselves with the signs of an ALB infestation, monitor your trees and firewood, and as the
property owner did correctly in this instance, report any signs of infestation as soon as possible.”
Adult ALBs are large, shiny black insects measuring 1 to 1 ½ inches long, not including antennae, with
random white spots. Their white‐banded antennae can be as long as the body itself on females and
almost twice the body length on males.

Signs of infestation include perfectly round exit holes (about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter) made by adult
beetles when they emerge from trees; the pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where female
beetles deposit eggs; frass (wood shavings and saw dust) produced by larvae feeding and tunneling;
early fall coloration of leaves or dead branches, and running sap produced by the tree at the egg laying
sites, or in response to larval tunneling.

To report signs or symptoms of ALB, please call the Ohio ALB Cooperative Eradication Program Office at
513‐381‐7180 or report online at


Media Contacts: Brett Gates, Ohio Department of Agriculture, (614) 752‐9817
Rhonda Santos, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (508) 852‐8044

All about our Costume Share program

Are you spreading the word about invasive insects at events this summer or fall? You should consider borrowing our fantastic insect costumes!


What? As part of our international outreach program, Don’t Move Firewood, we offer a selection of three different forest pest related costumes for use at any well attended appropriate educational opportunity.


Where? Our emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and “piece of firewood” costumes show up in some amazing places: “green” expos in Colorado, campfire chats in New Hampshire, parades in Ontario Canada, and public meetings in Ohio. Our emerald ash borer costume is especially popular at Minor League Baseball games—and we are proud to say that the EAB is already booked for the Little League World Championship this fall in Pennsylvania—a fun first for our costume share program.


Why? We run the costume share program because it is cost efficient, educational, and it builds partnerships. As Don’t Move Firewood expands as a campaign, we are constantly seeking to make long term connections other groups that are motivated to educate the public on the issue of forest pest movement on firewood.


How? Any non-profit entity can simply book one of our cool costumes by emailing our team ( with the type of event, dates needed, and contact information. From there, the team at Don’t Move Firewood takes care of all the logistics. The only cost to the costume borrower is one-way insured shipping. And in return, we merely ask for photos of the costume in use.


So spread the word! Become our friend on Facebook to see lots of funny pictures of our costumes in action, and if you have an event that could benefit from an eye catching four foot high firewood costume, a bright green funny emerald ash borer costume, or a (roughly) scientifically accurate Asian longhorned beetle costume, send us an email.

Wanderlust Festival and the Purple Traps

In the second of our series of blogs from the Don't Move Firewood summer interns, Sean ponders the meaning of yoga, donuts, purple traps, and the lack of open coffee shops at 6:30am.


Wanderlust: Slackasana and Purple Trap Roadtrips
by Sean Mahoney


This past weekend did involve a road trip to the great north woods, but nothing of the Jack Kerouac or Easy Rider sort of interactions took place. Instead the day started as most road days start for our outreach crew.


6am: On the road with no breakfast to be found in the sleepy towns along Route 7, but the chance to enjoy all the beauty of Vermont is all I need at this moment.


6:30am: Ok. All of that wishy-washy poetics about the open road and the beauty of Vermont is out the window. I’m so hungry, and why is there no food on the only highway to Vermont from western Massachusetts for 30 miles?


Purple Trap…


7am: Off in the distance a glimmer of hope emerges in the soft morning mist rising off the lake. Could it be? Yes! The sweet savory deliciousness of Donut Man off in the distance. Soon my hunger will be vanquished by a red velvet cake donut accompanied by an orange juice of exceptional temperature and quality.


8am: Cross the border to Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry’s and real maple syrup.


Purple Trap…


Double Purple Trap…


What are these Purple Traps, you might ask? For those of you who are not among the dedicated band of forest entomologists who keep up with the happenings of Don’t Move Firewood on their lunch hour, I have included a picture of one. Perhaps you’ve seen them on your local roads?

The secret of the emerald ash borer monitoring trap is thought to be the purple coloration. Just as I was attracted to Donut Man this morning due to my hunger, an emerald ash borer is probably attracted to the purple coloration.


Look at the photograph below and compare it to the color of the trap above. See how the lower abdomen is a glistening purple?



The idea is the beetles are attracted to that same purple- and hence the purple traps set up in 47 states to map the spread of the EAB outbreak. If you see a purple trap in your neighborhood, you can post a picture of it on


Wait, where was I? Wanderlust… oh right Wanderlust.


Imagine this:

  • A ski hill with no snow
  • Beautiful views of the Green Mountains
  • Peace and relaxation with yoga classes running all day for an entire weekend
  • Slackasana (yoga on a slackline)
  • Acro Yoga (aka holding 120 to 200 plus pounds of yogi above your head while you both simultaneously move together)
  • A dome of Gongs that seemed to bring rain and thunder at the same point in the afternoon every day
  • A human sized emerald ash borer spreading the word about looking out for signs of invasive insects and not moving firewood
  • Some of the kindest free spirits who want to do all that they can to keep mother earth healthy including not moving firewood when they are not doing yoga


Natalie and I summed up the experience like this:





Where do I even ask this question?

50 states, thousands of counties, quarantines, regulations, violations, oh my! Who do you ask when you have a question that is really specific to your situation?


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

sun july 2nd from wind had HICKORY tree blow down, what is safe distance to move it live in lawrenceburg ky, would like to sell to B-B-Q place or like may cracker barrel want to make sure it ok.




Dear Bob,

Glad you asked. The first thing I would do is just ask some local knowledgeable authorities. Sometimes that's a division of forestry, county extension, or the state department of agriculture offices. In your case, I think asking a county extension officer is going to be an easy and quick method of figuring out if there is anything worrisome (or illegal) about moving this dead hickory tree. The University of Kentucky has a great map to help you find who to call that you can use here . One question you should certainly ask is if the movement of hardwood firewood is permissable in your county. In some counties of Kentucky, all hardwood firewood is under quarantine, so that's a big concern.


Good luck!


The interns are guest blogging!

Don’t Move Firewood Outreach Interns, Natalie and Sean are back in action!  They are travelling New York and New England – camped out at festivals and fairs – educating the public about how to keep America’s forests safe from invasive insects. Here’s the first chapter in their summer adventure!


Clearwater: Great Hudson River Revival – Overcoming the Outreach Hangover
by Natalie Garcia


Outreach is hard. Continuously relaying information and travelling long hours adds some wear and tear onto a summer. Needless to say, even after a year off from the Don’t Move Firewood campaign, Sean and I had a little bit of an outreach hangover – or as Sean described it, an unawareness of just how much work we would be doing and how much greasy, gross festival food we would be eating. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled to be back, but an outreach hangover is no joke.


The first event was Clearwater: Great Hudson River Revival and I was eager to get the ball rolling. Our morning went as follows:


5:00am – Alarms goes off… “I’m getting too old for this”

5:30am – Somehow leave the house in one piece without forgetting anything

5:35am – Realize that absolutely nothing in the Berkshires (rural Western Massachusetts) is open at 5:35am

5:36am – post realization that I won’t be having any coffee – complain to Sean for the next 2 hours that I can’t believe that nothing is open*


As you can see, this was just the beginning of my now very large outreach hangover, but once I finally had some food and coffee I was determined to get over this hurdle. And Clearwater did not disappoint.



Over the two day event we were able to talk to more than 2,000 people about invasive pests, specifically the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), and how carrying firewood with you when go camping or for any other reason can risk the health of forests and trees everywhere. Many of the festival attendees were aware of the issues, having heard us at events last year or from billboards and other PSAs. But there were many folks that we were able to talk to that hadn’t heard our message before, which is always fun, refreshing, and very exciting.


In addition to informing the people of Clearwater about invasive pests, I was able to hear a fantastic live swing band called Swingology, talk to some very cool and passionate individuals, and was not so disappointed by the fact that there was a great Indian food tent—not as greasy and gross as I thought!


So what’s the cure to an outreach hangover, you may ask? Other than having great co-workers to push you through it, enjoying the day, the people, and the events that we go to is a big part of effectively conveying an important message. Enduring Saturday’s rough morning was well worth the reward.


*  Yes I’ve been spoiled by the Bronx; there are 24 hour establishments there.

Invasive species and native species

Here's a thought provoking question; what is a native species? When does it move far enough from where it is now, to where it goes to, to become a non-native species? This isn't a question from your biology class, it is a real quandary. For instance,  the goldspotted oak borer is an invasive species in Southern California, but its origin isn't that far off- Northern Mexico and parts of Arizona. I discussed this with reporter Clint Williams last week, to support his excellent article in Mother Nature News, Imported firewood can be more dangerous than fire. Crossing a major biological divide- like a huge desert- is just as potentially damaging as crossing the Atlantic or Pacific ocean, when it comes to the transport of pests.


This issue also came up in a recent email from the Don't Move Firewood advice line. So let's take a look at that!


Dear Don't Move Firewood,

Dandelion seeds are light and fluffy so they will blow long distances and spread. Burdocks cling to jeans and fur and are carried long distances to spread species. Transporting species from one region to another helps nature. The insects and the trees are both part of nature.




Dear Tom,

You are misunderstanding the issue at hand. Don't Move Firewood isn't because we are concerned that native, natural, local insects will be spread throughout their appropriate habitats. This isn't about creatures that belong in the landscape. This is about invasive species. Invasives are things that reproduce, damage, and even kill in an out of control fashion, because they do not belong. Insects and trees are part of nature, but these particular insects are NOT part of this nature. These insects and diseases belong in far off lands, or at least biologically separate lands, where they originally evolved. When people move them, they escape "nature" in the truest sense, and grow out of control. Transporting these species is destructive.

Thanks for reading.