Invasive Insects Can Burrow Into Firewood, Threatening Arizona's Ecosystem

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, November 30, 2015 - 3:23pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 8:40am
(Photo courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture)
This cut end of a piece of wood shows tunneling damage from an Asian Longhorn Beetle.

As temperatures drop, you might want nothing more than to curl up next to a roaring fireplace. However, if you don’t use local firewood, you could be threatening Arizona ecosystems by bringing in invasive insects that hitch a ride in your woodpile.

“Firewood is really important in that it can move wood-boring insects, and then once they get to other locations that are less snowy, warmer, they’ll complete their life cycle and they’ll look for new places to go ahead and attack,” said John Caravetta, associate director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Emerald ash borers and Asian longhorn beetles pose a particular threat to Arizona’s ash trees Caravetta said.

“These different high-profile invaders are causing devastation and a great deal of cost to any number of states and communities in other areas of the country, like the east coast and Midwest” Caravetta said.

Arizona’s large number of seasonal residents pose a particular threat if they transfer firewood across state lines.

"We do have a lot of local sources of firewood so you can recognize the joy of a fireplace without creating a problem," he said.

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