Published Date Written by David EastmanMy December article on invasive pests being introduced to New England brought an immediate response from NH's Division of Forest and Lands the Monday after that Sun's Weekender. Jennifer Weimer, Forest Health Specialist, wished to inform me of particular problems this state's woodlands are facing. Apparently my article was too specific to Maine. She reported that the hemlock woolly adelgid and elongate hemlock scale are now widespread throughout southern NH. She recommended a website discussing these ongoing challenges: nhdfl.org/forest-health/firewood/ The emerald ash borer, a third bug, scares the hell out of me for our Carroll County hardwood forests.
She then said the wasp I mentioned preying on this white ash's threatening pest now has a common name. The hunting wasp for emerald ash borers is Cerceris fumipennis and now is called "The Smokey Winged Bandit"! Jennifer said forestry interests are using it as biosurveillance to survey for EAB. Colonies can be found throughout NH including North Conway.
Then next, the state entomologist emailed me that I was incorrect about the hazard of firewood being moved here. "You incorrectly identified in your article that New Hampshire's firewood quarantine only prevents out-of-state firewood from being moved into state parks and forests. In July, 2011, the quarantine was extended to prohibit the entry of all untreated out-of-state firewood. In other words, it is illegal to bring firewood from other states into New Hampshire". As we commonly order firewood from local suppliers at this time of year, this is very important to keep in mind.
Exceptions are wood that has been certified and labeled as heat-treated firewood, and firewood moved under compliance agreement. He went on to say firewood is allowed from specific counties in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts for home heating purposes--if the business or resident first obtains a compliance agreement from the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food (DAMF), or the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED). In July, an announcement about these new regulations was carried on radio spots and in more than 200 national and regional newspapers. The objective of this firewood quarantine is to reduce the likelihood of importing the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, or other economically damaging forest pests into the state.
Last year, in cooperation with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA APHIS PPQ), the DAMF and DRED deployed 150 purple panel traps across the state of NH for the early detection of emerald ash borer. No emerald ash borers were found on these traps. In 2012, far more traps will be deployed in an effort to detect this destructive forest pest early.
And it doesn't stop there; the winter 2011 issue of Northern Woodlands discussed the problems of obtaining white ash logs for Ames True Temper sawmills along the eastern seaboard. The forest products industry is adapting to life with the emerald ash borer that has killed billions of ash trees since its introduction into this country nine years ago. This firm's Unadilla, NY alone produces a couple million feet per year in making rough dowels for tool handles.
The quarantine for them means that during the summer period beetles fly, you can't move fresh ash logs across non-quarantined county lines. In fall and winter, the bug larvae are active in trees in a no-fly period, so you can transport the ash logs as long you have the appropriate USDA paperwork. All by-products of the ash lumber need to be handled appropriately, too. This makes procurement more difficult, of course.
When the emerald ash borer comes into an area, it induces a period of panic cutting, which creates a great wave of wood running through the market. Then after this phenomenon finishes, people stop cutting ash in the woods; resulting in a shortage. White ash is a valuable tree, commonly bringing in over $300 per thousand board feet at the mill.
I worry that all these situations will compound as global climate change makes it effects more prominent in near future.
Jen Weimer produces an annual newsletter as the Forest Health Specialist for NH about this huge problem, and what you can do about it as a concerned forest landowner: www.nhdfl.org/library/pdf/2010newsletter.pdf.
Outreach will continue to New Hampshire residents about the dangers posed by these invasive forest pests, particularly Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, neither of which has been detected in the state. Many residents are aware of and alerted to the threats posed by these invasive insects. State and federal agencies routinely respond to calls from concerned citizens who believe they have evidence of these destructive forest pests. In 2011, the two insects most frequently sent to DAMF for identification were the native white-spotted sawyer, and the western conifer seed bug. Both of these insects are readily mistaken for Asian longhorned beetle by the layperson.