As hunters across the state make plans for the upcoming gun-deer season that begins Saturday, Nov. 19, state officials offer this reminder to those who plan to pack up some firewood for the deer camp: Don’t move firewood out of quarantine areas; those sticks could spell disaster for your woodlot.

Pests (and diseases) that kill trees move from place to place easily on firewood. Many people assume that those problems don’t exist in the fall and winter because it’s too cold in Wisconsin for those creatures to survive. Actually, insects like the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the gypsy moth are both well suited to ride out the cold weather in Wisconsin.

“Insects, including EAB and gypsy moth, have evolved to live in climates such as Wisconsin’s,” said Melody Walker, chief of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s Pest Survey program. “Transporting firewood in the fall or winter moves the insects while they’re dormant. Come spring, they just start up all over again.”

This map explains Wisconsin’s various restrictions on firewood movement from areas infested with EAB or gypsy moth or, in some cases, both.  (http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/articleassets/EAB_GM_Firewood_Restrictions.pdf)

Walker offers the following advice as hunters start packing up for deer camp:

  • gather or purchase your firewood at your destination;
  • use up the firewood you obtain and don’t take any along on the trip home;
  • consider buying firewood from state-certified dealers (http://datcp.wi.gov/uploads/Plants/pdf/CertifiedFirewoodDealers10.pdf);
  • if camping on DNR-managed land, firewood (unless state-certified) cannot come from more than 25 miles away.

“EAB and gypsy moth are two of the most destructive forest pests in North America. Add in oak wilt and other diseases and you have a real risk of losing a lot of trees where you hunt,” Walker said. “The deer that like to graze on your acorns might not be around if the trees that produced them are dead and gone.”

Wisconsin’s current EAB quarantine covers 12 counties in both the eastern and western parts of    the state, including La Crosse County which was added to the list this summer after DATCP’s survey efforts revealed a previously unidentified infestation near the city of La Crosse.  The state’s gypsy moth quarantine covers the eastern half of the state.

“Observing quarantine restrictions and being careful about moving firewood helps ensure that our forested areas, public and private, will be healthy for many gun-deer seasons to come,” Walker concluded.

Additional information about EAB and gypsy moth can be found online at www.emeraldashborer.wi.govor at www.gypsymoth.wi.gov.

 
 

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