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Firewood Can Carry Invasive Hitchhikers Detrimental to Ash Trees

Emerald Ash Borer BeetleCitizens reminded to buy local wood

As winter approaches and citizens stock up on firewood for the cold months ahead, many do not realize they may be bringing home more than burning supplies. With firewood being the main means of transport for the destructive emerald ash borer beetle, the State reminds all Marylanders to buy their wood locally to help limit the spread. 

The emerald ash borer (EAB), which seeks out and attacks ash tree species native to North America, is predicted to kill millions of Maryland’s ash trees over the next few decades. Many of these dead and dying ash trees will be located in yards, parks and along streets, which means Maryland communities will be forced to deal with these impacts firsthand.

From August to October, the beetle larvae are feeding just under the tree bark. During winter, the larvae lie dormant under the bark until spring when they emerge as adults. This means that those moving ash wood between August and May might unknowingly be transporting the larvae along with it, inadvertently causing new infestations once the adults emerge in the spring.

How can citizens help prevent the spread?

Do not move firewood outside the quarantine area. Currently in effect for all counties west of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River, the quarantine makes it illegal to transport firewood and ash products to the Eastern Shore where the insect has yet to be detected. Click here for the Maryland Quarantine Map.

Buy or use firewood close to your campsite. Do not transport firewood to State-owned parks, forests and campgrounds.As part of the state’s effort to stop the spread, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources prohibits visitors from bringing outside firewood onto its properties. Campers are made aware of the restriction when reservations are made and by posted notices. Personnel will be able to direct visitors to local sources of firewood and require campers to burn all firewood transported to a DNR property.

Know the signs. If you have ash trees, become familiar with the signs of an EAB infestation. Indicators include: Canopy dieback/loss from top down; shoots or sprouts emerging from trunk; woodpecker activity and bark flaking; and D-shaped exit holes behind tree bark. To see photos of symptoms, click here.

Make plans to remove or save an ash tree. The only way to save an EAB infected ash tree is to treat it with insecticides. Any trees that go untreated will die. For treatment information, click here.

To learn more about the emerald ash borer including how to treat it, click here. For information on dealing with ash trees in your woodlot, visit Please help spread the word, not the beetle!