Insects and Firewood: Leave Them Where you Find Them

Asian Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

Asian Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We noted back in April on the CLC Facebook page that the Asian Long-Horned Beetle had been eradicated in Canada. That was great news for anyone that cares anything about trees! Sadly, that is but one of the invasive insects that prey on our native trees though.

**UPDATE: Shortly after this article originally published, another outbreak was discovered in Toronto. While efforts were put forth to eradicate this invasive species once more, it is just another indication that the fight against invasives is constant and ongoing.

You will of course have heard of many of the insects that attack trees in Canada. There is the Emerald Ash Borer and its deadly decimation of ash trees in Canada; more specifically within Ontario and Quebec. There is also the Bronze Birch Borer, which targets birch trees, the European Gypsy Moth, which isn’t as picky about which trees it attacks, but can be just as fatal if it defoliates an entire tree, and a relatively new pest on our doorstep – the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

In reality, there are many more insects to be aware of and vigilant against here in Canada. The Government of Canada has complied a list of forest invasive alien species, which you should be aware of. They are;

That’s a list we would rather not see, but is a sad reality that arborists are challenged with on a daily basis. While some of these pests are worse than others, there are things that you can do to prevent their spread in Ontario.

Protect Against Invasives with Firewood Safety

The quickly approaching long weekend has always been noted as the unofficial start of summer. Many of you will be packing tents and heading to one of Ontario’s beautiful Provincial Parks to celebrate Victoria Day. Camping is a great activity for young or old, but before you leave you need to double-check one item before it gets packed – your firewood.

One of the most common ways for to introduce insects into new areas is in the innocuous transportation of wood. While you might look at a log as a perfect addition to your camping experience, what you can’t see are any of the insects that are travelling along with you just under the surface. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous though. Sadly it is often humans themselves that cause the worst of our infestations from exactly that method; of unknowingly transporting pests into areas where they may not have existed before.

Don’t Move Firewood!

That is why bans exist across Ontario for transporting any wood which could carry invasive insects. You cannot transport ash products of any kind (wood chips, bark, logs, trees, etc) within much of Southwestern Ontario. Likewise, quarantines exist against the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle, Dutch Elm Disease, European Larch Canker, Gypsy Moth, and theĀ Pine Shoot BeetleĀ to prevent the spread of these noxious pests.

What that means to you as a happy camper this weekend is that you cannot take along your own firewood to add to your campfire in any of Ontario’s Parks. In fact, any wood that you might purchase at a camp is also not allowed to be transported out of the area. IE, No transportation of wood in or out of a restricted area. While you might think a log or two is no big deal, if you get hit with a fine of up to $50,000 you might think otherwise!

So enjoy your long weekend and toast up a smores or weenie for me, but remember that it is up to you and I to do everything we can to keep our forests safe. Be on the safe side and calculate in a few extra dollars for firewood at the campsite. Our trees and the health of our forests will thank you for it.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend!

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Published by
May 15, 2013 10:15 pm