The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared Monroe County a wood quarantine zone. That’s because Emerald Ash Borer beetles were found in southern Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest.
The beetle lays eggs in ash trees, usually killing infected trees within a few years. Across the United States and Canada, the beetles have killed tens of millions of trees over the last six years.
The local quarantine means that wood collected in Monroe County can’t be taken across the county border.
State entomologist Phil Marshall said there are already plans in place to mitigate damage to the logging industry. He also said regulations for firewood removal are strict.
“It is not only ash firewood, but all hardwood firewood, such as oak, maple, hickory, that is regulated under the quarantine,” Marshall said, “Because many people are not able to pick up a piece of firewood and say is this ash or is it not ash.”
Marshall said DNR regulators work with commercial firewood producers to ensure the safety of their products.
Marshall said the insects can spread quickly when infected firewood is moved. He said that is how the beetle found its way into Hoosier National Forest.
The first Emerald Ash Borers found in the United States were discovered near Detroit in 2002. Since 2004, the beetles have been found in 21 Indiana counties. They’re thought to have come to the United States from China, in packing crates made from ash wood.