On Sept. 17, 30,000 visitors swarmed BugFest, an annual event at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. While many are adventurous and take a bite out of dishes with six-legged ingredients, the N.C. Forest Service and Plant Industry Division encouraged festival-goers not to take risks when it comes to firewood.
You see, firewood is the perfect ‘Trojan Horse’ for invasive pests. Many insects and diseases are able to hitchhike in or on firewood. If firewood is transported the new areas, then the pests are, too. It is through this passive dispersal that many of these non-native pests got here in the first place (e.g., hiding with the wood of shipping materials, such as pallets).
The “Bad Bugs of the Forest” exhibit at BugFest warned visitors of this potential, encouraging them to either use locally sourced or heat-treated firewood. Visitors learned about the tree-killing invasives found in North Carolina, then tested their knowledge with a Plinko-style game.
In case you missed the action, the “Bad Bugs of the Forest” will be exhibited in the N.C. Forest Service tent at the N.C. State Fair next month! Come test your knowledge!