While there’s been a lot of talk about labeling food so we know where it came from, a new labeling requirement for firewood is now in effect in the state. Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, says the requirement started with the new year, and those who sell firewood must label it with the state and county where the wood was harvest.
Northey says whole idea is to be able to make sure firewood is not being moved from an area where the emerald ash borer is located, so that bug does not move too. The emerald ash borer was found for the first time in Iowa last year on an island in the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa’s Allamakee County. The bug bores its way into ash trees and eventually kills them.
It has been found in states to the east and north of Iowa, and Northey says they want to do all they can to stop the bug’s spread. He says the bug can only move a mile or two a year by itself, and the fastest way for it to move is for someone to move firewood with the bug in it to a new area. Northey asks for your help in being sure that firewood sold at stores is properly labeled.
Northey says the labels should be on the wood now and if you find some that is not labeled, you are asked to call the Ag Department and let them know. He says the labeling should also be used for someone who has a tree fall down or cuts one down and then sells it for firewood.
Northey says if the wood is from someone where you drove up and they have firewood for sale, they should label the wood and let you know their address so that everyone knows where the firewood came from. He says they haven’t found any evidence yet that the bug has spread from the location in northeast Iowa. The gypsy moth has also become a big problem for trees, as their caterpillars eat all the leaves off trees. Northey says it poses a different type of threat than the ash borer.
Northey says the gypsy moth has caused a lot of damage, mainly in the northeast and eastern Iowa area. He says they are looking at some control treatments for the moth. But he says the gypsy moth larva don’t burrow into the wood like the emerald ash borer, and don’t pose the same threat from moving firewood. A quarantine is in place for wood in Allamakee County so it can’t be transported out of the area.
There are several websites with information on the emerald ash borer, including: www.IowaTreePests.com; www.iowadnr.gov, and www.extension.iastate.edu/PME/EmeraldAshBorer.html.