Maybe you’ve seen it- the bumper sticker that says, “Go Ahead, Move Firewood. The bugs will get there eventually anyway.” And you may be able to guess that here at Don’t Move Firewood, we don’t really appreciate that sentiment. Because while some bugs might get there eventually…
Wait… what? Did we just say the bugs WILL get there eventually? OK, not exactly. This is complicated.
Let’s take the case of European Spongy Moth. In the 140 years since spongy moth arrived, it has since infested roughly 1/4 of the country. The moth sadly does quite well in native North American forests, so the slow expansion of the edge of the spongy moth territory is indeed inevitable.
But in the case of a pest like the Asian longhorned beetle, they shouldn’t and won’t get there eventually. The Asian longhorned beetle moves slowly and doesn’t fly far. Eradication of every ALB in all the known infestations is totally possible- if the right steps are taken, like not moving firewood and reporting all bug sightings.
That’s why we here at Don’t Move Firewood strenously disagree with this bumper sticker- there are too many situations in which moving firewood is completely making the problem bigger, worse, and much more expensive.
But wait! Let’s look back at spongy moth. Right now, the spread of this pest is curtailed by a slew of really effective programs, including trapping, local eradication, phermone releases (this keeps the moths from breeding so effectively), public education, and of course Don’t Move Firewood efforts. These efforts will combine to protect 160 million acres of trees from death by moth over the next 20 years. That is a LOT of trees that will shade your street, homes, and natural places for another two decades if you live somewhere like Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois… states on the edge of the spongy moth line.
Wouldn’t you rather that spongy moth takes another THREE HUNDRED years to reach the Pacific Ocean? Not a three day road trip in contaminated firewood, but rather three CENTURIES? That’s the goal of Don’t Move Firewood. We have hope that your actions, and the actions of your friends, will make a difference for today, tomorrow, and even hundreds of years.