Today’s Topic: Buy firewood locally to prevent spread of invasive insects

by | Dec 16, 2014


Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

An adult emerald ash borer (Granville County). Image: NCFS.

An adult emerald ash borer (Granville County). Image: NCFS.

When you hear the phrase “Buy local,” it typically refers to food. But folks should be looking for another local product as we get into winter: firewood.

The NCDA&CS encourages people to buy firewood locally because it helps to prevent the spread of three major invasive insect species that have found their way to North Carolina in recent years. The department has been fighting the spread of emerald ash borer, walnut twig beetle and redbay ambrosia beetle.

Originally from Asia, the emerald ash borer has been in the U.S. for a dozen years. It was first detected in North Carolina in 2013. As of this summer, it had been found in Granville, Person, Warren and Vance counties. All four native ash species – pumpkin, Carolina, green and white – can be harmed by the borer. An estimated 2.5 million ash trees in North Carolina are at risk.

Another pest, the walnut twig beetle, carries a fungus that can cause thousand cankers disease in black walnut trees. It was found in Haywood County in 2012.

The third pest, the redbay ambrosia beetle, carries a fungus that can cause laurel wilt. It was first detected in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain in 2011. It’s a threat to redbay and swampbay trees, but also spicebush, sassafras, pondspice and pondberry.

These three pests like to hitch rides on wood. So it is always best to use firewood local to the area instead of bringing it in from somewhere else.

And if you see evidence of damage from any of these insects, contact your county forest ranger. For more information about these harmful insects, click here.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss why buying firewood locally is a good idea.

[Audio:|titles=Today’s Topic for Dec. 16]

Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.