As colder weather approaches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reminding the public not to move wood out of areas quarantined for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). It is important that people follow state and federal regulations, which restricts the movement of woody material, to keep this tree-killing pest from spreading outside of quarantined areas, particularly in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio.
“Preventing the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle to places outside of quarantined areas is critical to eliminating them from these three states, and we cannot do it without the help of residents and business owners in each state,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “As the weather gets colder and families begin using wood stoves and fireplaces, we are reminding the public to follow the regulations, especially when stocking up on firewood.”
State and federal officials monitor the movement of wood within and around regulated areas to enforce the quarantine. They may issue fines to individuals and businesses that do not comply with the regulations. There are three things that people can immediately do to comply:
1. Enter into a compliance agreement if you are a business or individual working with trees or related products, such as firewood, within the regulated areas in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. To obtain a compliance agreement, you must attend a 45-minute training session. There is no charge for the training or the compliance agreement. To register for an ALB compliance training session, please call:
- 513-381-7180 if you work in Ohio,
- 508-852-8110 if you work in Massachusetts, or
- 631-288-1751 if you work in New York.
2. If you have a compliance agreement, use designated wood disposal yards to dispose of ALB host material that is too large to be chipped on site, such as stumps. ALB-host material is firewood; green lumber; any living, dead, cut, or fallen tree pieces; and woody debris that is half an inch or more in diameter from the following tree types: maple, horse chestnut, mimosa, birch, katsura, ash, golden rain tree, sycamore, poplar, willow, mountain ash, and elm.
- In Ohio, the wood disposal yard is located at 2896 State Route 232 in Bethel and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
- In Massachusetts, the disposal yard is located at intersection of Ararat Street and Route 190 in Worcester and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
- In New York, please contact the ALB program at 1-631-288-1751.
3. Gather firewood locally, or buy it from a reputable dealer. Firewood suppliers should be aware of ALB regulations and the required compliance agreements. If you buy or gather firewood inside a regulated area, you must use it within the regulated area. It is not allowed to leave that area.
ALB eradication programs are a cooperative effort between federal, state, and local agencies. To date, APHIS and its partners have successfully eliminated the beetle from Illinois, New Jersey, portions of New York (Manhattan, Staten Island and Islip), and Boston, Massachusetts.
ALB is a serious insect pest for certain hardwood tree species that can cause significant economic and environmental impacts if allowed to establish and spread throughout the United States. For more information about the beetle and program activities, please call the ALB toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or visit www.aphis.usda.gov/pests-diseases/alb.