Disposing of Woody Storm Debris from Asian Longhorned Beetle Host Trees

Hurricane season is upon us. Please stay safe!

The following is an important Alert from our friends at USDA APHIS and Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry regarding the South Carolina Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program in light of Storm Idalia:

——— NOTICE ———-

If you live in Charleston/Dorchester counties in South Carolina and are in the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) quarantine, please be safe through storm Idalia.

Please dispose of woody storm debris from ALB host trees at the Bees Ferry Road Convenience Center, 1344 Bees Ferry Road, 29414, or the Hollywood Convenience Center, 5305 Highway 165, 29449. Any wood debris half an inch or more in diameter is considered regulated material and must be disposed of properly. Doing this helps prevent spreading the insect to other areas.

>>See Here for the South Carolina ALB Regulatory Boundary<<

ALB host trees include all species of the following 12 genera: Ash, Birch, Elm, Golden raintree, Horsechestnut/buckeye, Katsura, London planetree/sycamore, Maple, Mimosa, Mountain ash, Poplar, and Willow. The ALB quarantine applies to the beetle and all its life stages, firewood of all hardwood species, green lumber, and other living, dead, cut, or fallen materials which may include nursery stock, logs, stumps, roots, branches, and debris half an inch or more in diameter of all ALB host trees.

If you have any questions, please call 843-973-8329.

For information on how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding, please visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.


Additional Web Resources:

REMINDER: 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 permitted.

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Firewood regulation, certification, and recommendation report

The Firewood Comparison Report (officially, Firewood Regulation, Certification, and Recommendation Report) is a professional resource for in-depth information on firewood and forest pest regulations, certification, and recommendations across U.S. states and territories. The team at Don’t Move Firewood has updated the document, and conducted multiple webinars each year, since it’s first publication in early 2022. All documentation and webinars are now found in this report’s new permanent page; https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/firewood-comparison-report/. Please visit that page for all the latest updates and documents.

Changing of Lymantria dispar name

The Don’t Move Firewood outreach and education materials have included Lymantria dispar* as a pest commonly moved via the firewood pathway since the campaign was launched in 2008. With the summer 2021 announcement of the removal of the old common name from the approved common names list held by the Entomological Society of America (ESA), we acknowledge that all our materials covering this species must be changed. Our outreach staff are working closely with the ESA to select and rapidly roll out a new and better common name.

  • To facilitate an organized approach to this name change, the staff of Don’t Move Firewood have created a Don’t Move Firewood specific Lymantria dispar Name Change Implementation Plan in advance of the new name’s formal announcement. This plan may be updated after the ESA announcement to reflect any important changes or key dates.
  • For more information on the overall name change process, please visit the ESA’s Better Common Names Project page.

*a new common name for Lymantria dispar, spongy moth, is slated to replace the prior name of this insect, gypsy moth, in spring 2022. This change was necessary because the word “gypsy” is an ethnic slur.

NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect new information. It was initially posted in October 2021, and has been updated in January and February 2022.

Firewood as a vector of forest pest dispersal in North America: What do we know, and what do we need to know?

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

There are some astonishingly impactful invasive tree-killing pests present in North American forests. Some of these, like the emerald ash borer, are capable of potentially wiping out entire tree genera- as the damage they create reliably kills members of all the species of Fraxinus (ash). Likewise, the redbay ambrosia beetle (which carries laurel wilt, a nearly-always deadly vascular wilt disease) is capable of killing every species in the family Lauraceae – including avocado and sassafras trees. The Asian longhorned beetle infests trees in at least 12 different genera, including maples, willows, and poplars – some very common and important trees in both natural AND managed or urban areas. Other pests, like the European spongy moth, are hugely damaging on the landscape (both ecologically, and financially) but are thankfully unlikely to cause the extinction of any given species of trees. Collectively, these forest pests cause billions of dollars in damage over time and countless ecological impacts, some of which we may not even know about yet. While all forest pests can spread by their own means across short distances, unfortunately, accidental transport by humans is one of the main ways they move more rapidly, and across larger distances.

And since you’re reading this blog on a firewood website, I’m going to assume you enjoy a good fire. Maybe it’s in your home, for pleasure or heat, maybe it’s in the fire pit outside, maybe it’s at deer camp or at a state park whatever – these fires need wood to burn. Unfortunately, many of the destructive forest pests currently found in North America can (and do) get moved in or on pieces of firewood. Some of them can survive at least 3 years deep in the wood- and some can even infest wood at any time, regardless of how old or seasoned it may be (see the guest blog on Dodds et al 2017, here). To that end, there has been a good bit of research on firewood pests, starting most intensely in the early 2000s when the emerald ash borer was rapidly spreading in North America. Since then, a variety of research on the topic has been completed and published, but no one has really holistically reviewed what is out there, what we know, and what we need to know – until now. This paper, Firewood Transport as a Vector of Forest Pest Dispersal in North America: A Scoping Review, in the Journal of Economic Entomology, led by Angelica Solano, a M.S. student with Drs. Shari Rodriguez and David Coyle of Clemson University, does just that. They reviewed the firewood pest literature from North America to see what we did- and didn’t- know, and found some very eye-opening things.

Did you know that most of the work on pests in firewood has been done in the Great Lakes and Northeastern U.S. regions? Additionally, a handful of studies have been done in the southwestern U.S. and in Canada, but almost none in the Pacific Northwest or Southeast. This is significant because there are plenty of wood-infesting pests in these areas too, and we have very little published science on what’s happening there. Yes, even folks in the South use firewood for heating their homes (it does get cold in higher elevation areas, and in winter) and “ambience” fires are pretty common too – not to mention all the campfires that happen at all the state and national parks for your s’mores, hot dogs, and general enjoyment.

Map of firewood studies research locations

Solano et al 2021, Fig 2. Location and frequency of research locations from the 24 articles used in the review.

The scientific community also doesn’t have a lot of established knowledge on how pest dispersal is affected by the movement of firewood. We know many pests can be moved, or can survive in cut wood, but how does human-mediated movement really affect pest movement at a population level? Likewise, we don’t know nearly enough about what the public knows (or doesn’t know) regarding this issue – which makes it very difficult to craft effective strategies to reach the right people with the right information. . In order to more effectively educate firewood users and make a difference in the spread of forest pests, we need to know how and what people are doing- and why they are doing it. And, unfortunately, there’s a big knowledge gap here.

At the end of the day, we know pests can be moved in firewood. Certainly, which pests we’re talking about will differ based on the location, the type of wood, how it was stored or harvested, and many other factors- but regardless of where you are, this is a possibility. We also know that people’s attitudes and knowledge can impact their decisions to move firewood long distances, and that there are inconsistent rules and regulations across states, regions, and countries. What would really be beneficial is continent-wide consistently held and enforced regulations regarding the movement of firewood, and a more informed public. Everyone knows it is better to lead with a carrot than to rule with a stick, so a focus on educating the public is, to me, the top priority.

So, if you’re reading this, please – enjoy that fire. Eat those hot dogs and marshmallows. But get your firewood locally.

This blog is summary by one of the authors of the study listed here:  Angelica Solano, Shari L Rodriguez, Leigh Greenwood, Kevin J Dodds, David R Coyle, Firewood Transport as a Vector of Forest Pest Dispersal in North America: A Scoping Review, Journal of Economic Entomology, 2021;, toaa278, https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toaa278


Federal Deregulation of Emerald Ash Borer

USDA APHIS published the final rule that will remove federal domestic EAB quarantine regulations on December 15th 2020, with the rule to take effect January 14 2021 (read the press release here). This action will generate two key changes that pertain to the movement of potentially EAB infested firewood. The first change is that no directly EAB-connected federal regulation will apply to firewood- however, keep in mind the other federal, state, tribal, and private regulations and rules that apply to firewood will remain. The second change is that the federal structure that allows for the certification of heat-treated firewood in EAB infested areas (compliance agreements) will no longer apply, and therefore certification programs will need to shift to rely on state-based compliance agreements or other types of verification.

To aid in the potential development of state-based firewood regulations and heat treatment certification programs, the National Plant Board proactively developed a comprehensive set of Firewood Guidelines. These guidelines are now available online, and they contain templates, research references, recommendations, and case studies that will help inform adaptive changes over time. You can find the National Plant Board Firewood Guidelines here.

The Don’t Move Firewood campaign is run by The Nature Conservancy to reduce the rate of spread- and thus mitigate the impacts- of forest pests across North America. The campaign is based on the concept that the pathway of firewood should be addressed holistically, and the specific pests that may be in or on firewood are secondary to the idea that firewood itself can pose a threat. The Don’t Move Firewood campaign has always provided outreach materials reflecting the focus on firewood, regardless of if it is from a defined area with a federally regulated pest (such as emerald ash borer, or Asian longhorned beetle) or not (such as goldspotted oak borer, or thousand cankers disease). Due to this focus, Don’t Move Firewood outreach activities after the federal deregulation of emerald ash borer will be largely unchanged- with the exception of updating all materials describing former federal EAB quarantine boundaries. In 2021, all states and provinces on the Firewood Map found on Don’t Move Firewood website will be revised to reflect the changes in the firewood regulation environment.

For more information that pertains to this process, please visit:








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 curriculum.

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.

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

Firewood – it’s not as dead as you think

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

Firewood.  For some, collecting, splitting, and stacking firewood may be considered a right of passage.  I mean, when I was growing up, I helped my father replenish the woodpile every year – it was one of those things that was a given, like the changing of the seasons.  It’s often free, so long as you collect it yourself, and this makes it a very attractive heat source for many people.  In most cases, people will cut firewood from trees that have already died or been damaged – this way, the wood has already started curing, and can be burned sooner.  Storms can provide lots of firewood material, and I remember cutting up storm-damaged trees as a kid.

That said, firewood has become a lightning rod of a topic in the last few years and has been implicated in the movement of several invasive species throughout North America.  But how long CAN insects live in firewood, really?  I’ve heard people say the likelihood of pests moving in firewood is overblown, yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that invasive species have been spread through firewood.  As a scientist and educator with degrees in entomology, I can tell you that several types of insects that live in wood have life cycles that are perfectly suited to making a life in a piece of firewood, yet up until recently, we didn’t have a lot of really sound science to support these notions (even though having cut and split more firewood in my lifetime than I can remember, I can tell you that many insects can live in a log).  But thanks to Dr. Kevin Dodds, a forest entomologist with the USDA Forest Service in Durham, NH, we now have hard data AND evidence that firewood can be a major pathway in which insects are moved.

Larvae found in backyard firewood, Credit: D. Coyle, Clemson University

Dr. Dodds and his team collected firewood in the same manner in which any homeowner would from a forest after a major windstorm blew through and created all sorts of injured/broken/blown down trees – perfect trees for firewood.  They collected logs one, two, and three years after the storm, took those logs home, split them into firewood-sized piece – again, just like a homeowner would – and then kept them in special containers (called rearing chambers) for a year to record what came out of them.

And what did come out of those pieces of firewood?  THOUSANDS OF INSECTS- even three years after the storm.  And while they didn’t find any really nasty invasive species coming out of the firewood in this study, they found members of the same groups of insects that wreak the most havoc in our forests – bark and ambrosia beetles (the same group as the redbay ambrosia beetle, which is likely responsible for up to 500 million dead trees in the southeastern U.S.), long-horned beetles (the same group as the Asian longhorned beetle, which is a very significant tree pest currently being eradicated in three states within the U.S.), and buprestid beetles (the same group as the emerald ash borer, which has killed over 70 million trees and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in management costs). In fact, the third year of the study was when the most insects came out of the logs!

A tree killed three years ago may look dead on the outside, but it’s teeming with life on the inside.  By all means, you can use it for firewood.  But don’t move it from where it falls to where you burn it very far – ideally you should use it within a few miles of where you get it – because you never know what’s lurking inside that log.

This blog is an independent response and view of the study here: Dodds, K.J., R.P. Hanavan, and M.F. DiGirolomo. 2017. Firewood collected after a catastrophic wind event: the bark beetle (Scolytinae) and woodborer (Buprestidae, Cerambycidae) community present over a 3-year period. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 19: 309-320, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/afe.12210

Free Downloads for Tree Check Month 2018

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! This list will be updated throughout the summer of 2018 as new materials are found or created!

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:

Oregon Forest Pest Detector Network and 2017 Firewood Eclipse Outreach

Guest blog by Brandy Saffell, Program Coordinator for the Oregon Forest Pest Detector Program, Oregon State University Extension Service

The 2013 arrival of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Boulder, Colorado, was a serious wakeup call to natural resource agency professionals in Oregon. Up until then, we had assumed that the Rocky Mountains would serve as a natural barrier to the westward spread of insects like EAB and the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). The several hundred miles that EAB jumped from an infestation in the Midwestern or Eastern states to Boulder was likely due to the movement of infested firewood- which made us realize that EAB may only be one infested load of wood away from Oregon.

In response, the Oregon State University Extension Service created the Oregon Forest Pest Detector program (OFPD), which trains natural resource professionals and volunteers how to identify and report high priority invasive forest pests in the course of their daily work. Since our first workshop in 2015, over 350 participants from across the state have completed the OFPD training. When new pests or potential pathways arise, this network of trained detectors is not only a great resource for visual survey and early detection, but also education and outreach.

Oregon Forest Pest Detectors looking for signs of EAB during a workshop in Cathedral Park, Portland (Photo credit: Brandy Saffell)

One recent example of OFPD outreach was advance preparation for 2017 solar eclipse travelers. With the sudden influx of visitors from across the country in campgrounds and natural areas along the path of totality, there was reasonable concern that infested firewood could end up in Oregon. We used the Don’t Move Firewood solar eclipse campaign materials in our summer OFPD newsletter and encouraged detectors to spread the word to their clients, employees, and communities. We also marketed to other OSU Extension networks such as the Oregon Master Naturalists. We heard back from several detectors that they had used the materials in their own communications, such as an urban forester from Portland Parks & Recreation who directed the message to Portlanders via the Tree Bark newsletter. We also heard from some Master Naturalist volunteers who served as naturalist interpreters and firewood educators at the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge during the eclipse.

Master Naturalist volunteers setting up an interpretation booth at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Brett Lawrence)

In the next few years, the Oregon State University Extension Service would like to expand the OFPD program to reach out to more campground managers and volunteer hosts. We also hope to develop and implement a campground firewood exchange in cooperation with Oregon Parks and Recreation, where campers who bring firewood from outside Oregon can turn it in for local firewood.

Oregon Forest Pest Detectors is a partnership between the OSU Extension Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA Forest Service, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Invasive Species Council. The program would not be possible without funding received from USDA APHIS and the US Forest Service.

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