North Carolina - The North Carolina Agriculture commissioner has ordered an emergency quarantine restricting the movement of firewood or any parts of ash trees from the state, after infestations of tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer bugs have been found in three counties. Former USDA biologist and vice-president of McNeely Pest Control Frank Fowler warned though the bugs have not yet spread to the Triad, homeowners should take precautions.
According to the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS), the non-native Emerald Ash Borer bugs look like metallic green beetles and lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. The larvae then carve themselves into the bark and prevent the tree from getting nutrients. When trees are infested with the bugs, their crowns begin to thin and die. NCFS and Fowler warn homeowners who have Ash Borer-infested trees to cut them down and chip, burn or bury the wood on site.
NCFS says ash trees are important for the environment because ash wood is valued for its strength and elasticity. It is used to make baseball bats, bows and tool handles, and many animals and insects-like butterflies-often feed on ash foliage and seeds.
Fowler said the Emerald Ash Borer bugs' infestation of the two species of ash trees found in North Carolina undoubtedly can harm the agriculture industry. He also noted how quickly the bugs can spread through the transportation of firewood. He said families who wish to camp must heed to the USDA's restriction on taking firewood to and from camp sites.
Like the Emerald Ash Borer bug, two other non-native insects already are causing problems for homeowners in the state. Fowler said his pest control company already has responded to several calls from Triad residents about the Kudzu bug and Brown Marmorated Stink bug. These two bugs, which infiltrate homes through cracks in siding or open windows, can essentially hibernate in people's homes during fall and winter and tend to emerge, in large quantity, in the summertime.
Fowler said homeowners who have the bugs in their homes can call their local pest control agencies for extermination recommendations. He said people also can vacuum up the bugs. Both the Kudzu bugs and Brown Marmorated Stink bugs feed on crops like soybeans and corn.
The Kudzu bugs are attracted to white objects and clothing. Neither the Kudzu bug nor the Brown Marmorated Stink bug is known to be harmful to humans.