South Carolina finds an Asian longhorned beetle infestation

In late May 2020, an observant resident of Hollywood, SC noticed and reported an unusual black and white spotted beetle near a porch light at their home. That beetle unfortunately turned out to be one of many Asian longhorned beetles infesting trees in the area, and USDA APHIS is now working with the Clemson Department of Plant Industry and Clemson Extension to understand the geographic scope of the infestation, as well as how the beetle is spreading in this coastal South Carolina habitat.
asian longhorned beetle held in persons hand
There are two important things that anyone in the southeastern US can do to help. Report any possible sightings of this beetle, and don’t move any wood or tree products (firewood, chips, branches, yard waste) around the greater Charleston area.

Take a look at the trees around you, and report any insects you might find that look like this beetle- or any potential holes or other damage that might be from the Asian longhorned beetle. The beetles themselves are about 1” to 1.5” long, have a very long black and white striped antenna, and a black glossy body with obvious white spots. Sometimes they look like they have blue-ish feet. Beetles make several different types of damage on trees, including round, ¼” to 3/8” holes and small chewed “divots” on the outside of the tree. Bark may split in some places and the tree may ooze fluid around these areas. Branches will often fall from the tree, as feeding from the larvae weakens the structural integrity of the tree. So far, in this area, damage has been most commonly seen on red maples. More information on the ALB can be found on the Asian longhorned beetle Clemson Extension fact sheet. If you think you see an ALB, please capture the insect or take a photo and contact the Clemson Department of Plant Industry (invasives@clemson.edu or by calling 864-646-2140) or your local Clemson Extension office, which can be found here: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/co/index.html. If you think you have found an ALB outside of South Carolina, please visit the AsianLonghornedBeetle.com Report It form.

red maple with asian longhorned beetle damage

Firewood, yard waste, and other wood and tree products could potentially contain beetles. Don’t take firewood from your backyard along with you when you go camping, fishing, or any activity where you might use firewood. Instead, buy local bundled firewood at or near your destination, or gather firewood on site when you get there (if that is permitted). Take care to observe any local restrictions about yard waste in the area near the newly discovered Asian longhorned beetle infested area in and around Hollywood SC (southwest of Charleston).

protect south carolina forests billboards

Co-authored by David Coyle, Clemson University, and Leigh Greenwood, The Nature Conservancy

 

Don’t Move Firewood Campaign Evaluation 2020

The Nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood (DMF) educational campaign is the most widely recognized firewood outreach campaign in the USA and Canada. The Nature Conservancy conducts its own nationwide campaign of forest pest and firewood outreach while supporting hundreds of partnering entities in conducting their own efforts. To gain a better understanding of the perception and sentiment of the various methods DMF employs, two online surveys and a series of eleven one-on-one interviews were conducted with a wide variety of partners from June 2019 through March 2020.

The survey and interviews were structured to address; what current (within the past five years) campaign aspects and efforts are viewed positively by stakeholders, where do any negative feelings about the current campaign stem from, and what actions or changes are desired within two future time ranges (one to two years, and within five years).

  • The most common responses for the positive aspects of the current campaign were; the reliable website, engaging and turnkey education materials, and the clear message at the heart of the campaign.
  • The most common responses for what is “not liked” and “not useful” were; insufficient circulation of materials, inadequate awareness of existence of campaign by partners, and excessive variety of choices for outreach.
  • Most recommendations for the immediate (one or two years) were themed on; updating outreach materials with greater intention in partner distribution, updating materials to be pest- specific and include economic impact language, new media production, and better distribution of existing products to new and existing partners. Long-term project suggestions that may become part of the next five years of DMF work include; greater regional engagement in targeted areas and potentially developing an educational

The Nature Conservancy manages the DMF campaign as part of their larger goal to protect the forests of North America from the damaging effects of invasive insects and diseases. This goal would not be possible without the continued financial support of USDA APHIS and the US Forest Service to the Forest Health Program of The Nature Conservancy.

Click here to download: Don’t Move Firewood Campaign Evaluation and Report 2020.

Free Downloads for Tree Check Month 2019

August is Tree Check Month! Everyone is encouraged to take 10 minutes to check their trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. To help you learn about the beetle, or to provide materials for your outreach needs, we’ve rounded up all the best free resources that we could find!

Infographics and Handouts:

Fun Outreach Items for Kids:

Template text to paste into outreach statements:

  • Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com
  • (Your organization can help by encouraging the public to check / You can help by checking) trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle in August. Look for round exit holes, shallow scars in the bark, sawdust-like material on or around tree, and the beetle itself.

Blogs and News Releases:

Social Media Tips:

Educational Videos:

General Information:

Publications on firewood movement and human behavior

The issue of forest pests being moved on contaminated firewood is inherently not due to the firewood itself- but instead it is a product of people’s needs, wants, opinions, choices, beliefs, and access to relevant information. With that in mind, here at Don’t Move Firewood we thought it’d be good to summarize the papers, documentation, and research projects that have focused intentionally on the people aspect- an informal literature review of the social science of why people move firewood.

Canadian Council on Invasive Species, 2018 National Invasive Species Recreational Pathways Survey and Report, March 2018 Report, accessed May 2019 on http://canadainvasives.ca/resources/reports/, pdf version: http://canadainvasives.ca/documents/2018_07_National_Invasive_Species_Recreational_Pathways_Survey_FINAL.pdf

Daigle, J.J., C.L. Straub, J.E. Leahy, S.M. De Urioste-Stone, D.J. Ranco, and N.W. Siegert. 2018. How campers’ beliefs about forest pests affect firewood transport behavior: an application of involvement theory. Forest Science. https://doi.org/10.1093/forsci/fxy056

Diss-Torrance, A.; Peterson, K; Robinson, C. 2018 Reducing Firewood Movement by the Public: Use of Survey Data to Assess and Improve Efficacy of a Regulatory and Educational Program, 2006–2015, Forests 2018, 9(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020090

Koch, F.; Yemshanov, D.; Magarey, R.; Smith, W. 2012 Dispersal of Invasive Forest Insects via Recreational Firewood: A Quantitative Analysis. J. Econ. Entomol. 105(2):438-450. https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/40483

Minnesota Department of Agriculture 2005 and 2008, Public Awareness and Behavior Survey Reports. MN 2005 North Shore State Parks Visitors Report, MN 2008 North Shore State Parks Visitors Report

Peterson, K.; Diss-Torrance, A. 2014 Motivations for rule compliance in support of forest health: Replication and extension. J. Environ. Manag. 2014, 139, 135–145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.02.036,  PetersonMotivationsForComplianceReplication

Peterson, K.; Diss-Torrance, A. 2012 Motivation for compliance with environmental regulations related to forest health. J. Environ. Manag. 2012, 112, 104–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.06.023

Peterson, K.; Nelson, E. 2008 Firewood Use in Wisconsin State Parks and Forests: 2006 and 2008 (Wisconsin) Bureau of Science Services. PetersonFirewoodWisconsin20062008

Robertson, D.; Andow, D. (Working Paper, 2009). Human-mediated dispersal of emerald ash borer: Significance of the firewood pathway.  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/…pdf

Runberg, D. 2011. Educating Pacific Northwest Campers on the Risk of Spreading Invasive Forest Pests through Firewood: Developing a Mental Model. Master of Public Policy Essay, Oregon State University.  PNWCamperStudy_RunbergMPP2011

Siegert, P.Y., B. Nowell, M. Michaelis, N. McShinsky and N.W. Siegert. 2015. The invasive species Cannonball Run: A case study of firewood movement to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. P. 91–92 in Proc. of the 2014 emerald ash borer research and technology meeting, Buck, J., G. Parra, D. Lance, R. Reardon, and D. Binion (eds.). USDA Forest Health Technology Expertise Team (FHTET-2015-07), Morgantown, WV. SiegertInvasiveSppCannonballRunAbstract

Tobin, P.C.; Diss-Torrance, A.; Blackburn, L.M.; Brown, B.D. 2010 What Does “Local” Firewood Buy You? Managing the Risk of Invasive Species Introduction. J. Econ. Entomol. 2010, 103, 1569–1576. https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/40590, https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/2010/nrs_2010_tobin_002.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 2010. Risk Assessment of the Movement of Firewood Publication of the Plant Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Laboratory, Center for Plant Health Science and Technology, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Risk Assessment of the Movement of Firewood.pdf

Spring yard cleaning tips

Spring yard cleaning season is well under way, and here at Don’t Move Firewood we’d like to share some pointers on how you can best dispose of your yard waste to minimize the spread of invasive species. It is important to realize that all types of yard waste- including tree branches, brush, leaves, and clippings- can potentially harbor invasive insects and diseases. Therefore, if you dispose of yard waste (sometimes also called “green waste”) incorrectly, you could unintentionally start a new pest infestation.

For smaller yard debris from your own yard, such as leafy thin branches, evergreen needles and cones, green clippings, or brushy materials, it is best to either let it break down naturally on site (whether through backyard composting, or just a standard brush pile) or through municipal composting (if available). In some areas under quarantine for emerald ash borer or Asian longhorned beetle, there are specific wood disposal areas called “marshalling yards” for safely disposing of quarantined woody waste items. It is NOT advisable to use your leafy material for fill on other properties, and of course it is never a good idea to dump it or otherwise dispose of it illegally.

For woody materials, such as tree trunks or medium-to-larger branches from your own property, these can either be chipped on site for mulch, bucked and split into firewood for use on site, or brought to a municipal composting facility (if available).

Because pest infestations can take years to be recognized by the authorities, let alone homeowners, it is critical to remember that even trees and shrubs that appear healthy could be harboring harmful organisms. Even well seasoned firewood should be used locally- preferably on site- and not taken long distances for camping.

Many states have regulations or quarantines relating to the movement of firewood- which can include things like cut logs and branches. For a complete map of firewood regulations, visit our Firewood Regulation and Recommendation Map.

Here are some tips for what to do with fallen branches or tree trunks on your property:

  • Make it into firewood and use it in your own fireplace, wood stove, BBQ, or outdoors fire pit! Logs and cut branches should be split and dried in a covered stack for at least six months (and preferably longer) to “season” it. Properly dried “seasoned” firewood burns hotter and creates less air pollution.
  • If you don’t want to keep this firewood on site, don’t be tempted to take it with you when camping this spring or summer. Instead, you can give it to your next-door neighbor for their home heating use, or burn or chip it on site, or dispose of it at a municipal composting facility or a quarantined area marshalling yard.
  • Hire a tree service or rent a tree chipper to shred your fallen trees and branches on site into mulch to use in your own garden beds and landscaping projects.
  • If a yard waste recycling or municipal composting program is not available- and you cannot leave the materials on site to break down naturally nor do you want to make it into firewood- your brush, logs, and branches should be disposed of in a local landfill.

Webinar: How campers’ beliefs affect firewood transport, March 19

Join us for a FOCI webinar, How campers’ beliefs affect firewood transport, on Tuesday March 19th 2019 at 2pm Eastern (11am Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1pm Central). This webinar will share results of an on-site survey of campers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and how their beliefs about forest pests affected firewood transport.  A joint presentation will be given by John Daigle, Professor in the School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, Maine; Crista Straub, Social Scientist with the Social & Economic Analysis Branch, US Geological Service, Fort Collins, Colorado; and Nate Siegert, Forest Entomologist, US Forest Service, Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection, Durham, New Hampshire. The format of the webinar will be approximately 40 minutes of presentations, and 20 minutes of open discussion on assessing the effectiveness of outreach and education efforts and links to current research and management of invasive species.

WEBINAR: National Plant Board Firewood Working Group Overview, on February 6

Join us for a FOCI webinar, National Plant Board Firewood Working Group Overview, on Wednesday February 6th 2019 at 2pm Eastern (11am Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1pm Central). This webinar will be an overview of the firewood working group of the National Plant Board and will discuss three specific focus areas; State Regulations, Firewood Production Best Management Practices, and Outreach and Education. The overview will be led by Ann Gibbs, National Plant Board President with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, along with Piera Siegert, Vice President of the Eastern Plant Board with the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food. The format of the webinar will be approximately 30 minutes of presentations, and 30 minutes of open discussion.  

 

Webinar: Don’t Move Firewood Campaign- Present and Planned, on January 29

Join us for a FOCI webinar, Don’t Move Firewood Campaign- Present and Planned, on Tuesday January 29th 2019 at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific, 11 Mountain, Noon Central). The Don’t Move Firewood campaign organizes, creates, and assists with outreach activities over a tremendous scope of partners throughout the year. During this webinar, the manager of Don’t Move Firewood, Leigh Greenwood, will outline the activities that fall under the broad categories of; established past programs that are now in a “maintenance” mode, currently running programs that are actively being managed, and planned programs for 2019 and beyond. This webinar will have a particular focus on firewood outreach that professionals in the field of forest health management or communications can use to inform their own future actions and directions.

  • The presentation on January 29th was accidentally not properly recorded. We’ll be doing a re-presentation in February and will post it at that time.
  • The webinar’s powerpoint slides are available here: DMF2019_presentplanned

 

New science on why people make the choice to move firewood

Guest blog by David Coyle, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University

Most insects (and fungi) don’t really move that far on their own. The emerald ash borer, widely considered the worst invasive forest insect of our generation, flies at most a few miles a year. So if that’s the case, then how did it get from Detroit to Texas (or Maine, or Manitoba, or Georgia, or North Carolina, or…) in less than two decades? I’ll tell you how – it got accidentally moved around by people, most likely in infested wood products. And what’s one of the most commonly moved wood products that people like to move around? Firewood.

Maybe it’s for a relaxing weekend camping at a park (“I’m gonna sit by the fire and enjoy doing nothing”), maybe it’s for a gathering at a relative’s house (“Let’s have a bonfire!”), or maybe it’s for cold fall nights out deer hunting- whatever the reason, firewood gets moved around all the time. When it is only short distances, that’s not a big problem- but unfortunately, the transportation of firewood is one of the main ways invasive pests get moved longer distances, like to new states or regions far away from their original infestation.


Now you may be asking yourself – why do people move firewood considering all the information about the risk of moving forest insects? What’s the precise reason people choose to move firewood? Do they not know it’s bad? Or do they not care? Or is it something else?

Recently, researchers from the University of Maine, Unity College, and the USDA Forest Service interviewed campers (272, to be exact) at campgrounds in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, all with the goal of figuring out the answer to these questions. You can read the whole study at (https://academic.oup.com/forestscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/forsci/fxy056/5232804), but for a quick summary, keep reading!

First, the good news: most people (92%!) did know about invasive forest pests (though they couldn’t always name one) and the majority (72% of campers) did not bring firewood from home. The bad news is that we now know 28% of people are bringing firewood from home. The big reasons why people brought their own wood probably won’t surprise you –they already had it available at home, and bringing it is cheaper than buying it.

The study also found out that the less people cared about (or were “involved with”) invasive forest pests, the less they thought invasive forest pests were a problem. This makes perfect sense. Think of something you care deeply about – you probably think it’s important, right? We are all more motivated to protect the things we care about and understand, than the things that don’t seem important, or that we simply are not aware of.

This important research shows us that we still have work to do in the world of forest pest, firewood, and social science research. We need to figure out new, exciting ways to convey to people how bad invasive species can be, and how their actions make a difference. Maybe we need to show more images of large-scale devastation from insect outbreaks? Maybe it’s personal stories of financial loss – or the loss of a beautiful tree in someone’s yard? Whatever it is, reaching those folks who don’t yet care or understand will be critical to protecting our trees and forests.

Like me, you may have heard misconceptions about the importance of not moving firewood before, “Who cares? It won’t matter. We’ll burn it all up anyway. There’s no way anything is still living in there. There weren’t any bugs in it to start with. I’m only one person, how much can that really matter?”

As a community of outreach professionals, we need to communicate that yes- your firewood does matter, and one person can make a difference. Every camping trip, hunting trip, or visit to Grandma’s house is another opportunity to do the right thing.

Daigle, J.J., C.L. Straub, J.E. Leahy, S.M. De Urioste-Stone, D.J. Ranco, and N.W. Siegert. 201x. How campers’ beliefs about forest pests affect firewood transport behavior: an application of involvement theory. Forest Science XX: 1-10.

Photo credit: L. Greenwood, The Nature Conservancy

Webinar: Regulations that apply to moving firewood right now

Join us for a FOCI webinar, Regulations that apply to moving firewood right now, on January 30th 2019 at 4pm Eastern, 3 Central, 2pm Mountain, and 1pm Pacific.

The regulations that apply to firewood are often not entirely about the firewood itself, which makes it hard to fully categorize and understand the tangled web of rules and quarantines in North America. During this webinar, the manager of Don’t Move Firewood, Leigh Greenwood, will describe all the different ways in which current regulations criss-cross to create a confusing, and fascinating, regulatory landscape. Back by popular demand from the webinar of the same name held in January 2018, we’ll do our best to accurately represent the scope of a whole continent’s rules and regulations in merely one hour.

  • The 2019 recorded presentation is available here: https://youtu.be/4m2KlbesseI
  • The 2019 powerpoint slides are here: FOCIRegulationsRightNow2019 
  • View the 2018 recorded presentation on our YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/Hn5c4t3cuC8 Special note: the 2018 webinar recording briefly shows a blank screen at about 8 minutes and 18 minutes in. Just sit tight, it resolves itself when the webinar clicks over to the next slide. Sorry about that! Not sure what happened.