Destructive insect gets its own state week

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Governor Martin O’Malley has declared that May 20-26 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Maryland.  The proclamation is part of an ongoing effort to inform residents about the need to eliminate this invasive, destructive pest that kills ash trees.  Since ash is used to make baseball bats, part of the awareness effort will be a fun summer-long campaign with the Bowie Baysox, starting with promotions at the May 21 and May 26 home games.

"We need everyone's help to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer throughout our state," said Governor O'Malley.  "All Marylanders can do their part to help us control this pest and protect our environment by leaving their firewood at home."

As part of the state’s effort to stop the spread of the pest, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is discouraging campers and other visitors from bringing outside firewood onto its properties.    The Department will be notifying campers of the restriction when reservations are made and by notices posted at the properties.  Personnel will be able to direct visitors to local sources of firewood and require campers to immediately burn any local firewood transported to a DNR property.

The beetle was introduced to Southern Prince George’s County in 2003 after a Michigan nurseryman illegally shipped infested ash trees in violation of a quarantine in that state.  This winter, more than 25,000 ash trees were removed from neighborhoods and forests in a 21-square mile area near Clinton and Brandywine.  A three-year surveillance program has already begun to determine if the eradication efforts are successful.

“Since the emerald ash borer is only currently found in Southern Prince George’s County, our focus with the outreach efforts is to stop firewood from leaving the county; in fact, it is illegal under a state quarantine to take firewood or any ash products out of the county,” said Secretary Richardson.  “With the summer vacation and camping season upon us, we are working to increase public awareness of this destructive pest and efforts that everyone can do to stop its spread.T he beetle can only move a short distance on its own but it and others like it can move hundreds of miles on infested firewood.”

The emerald ash borer is responsible for the loss of more than 25 million trees in the Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana where it has become established.  USDA has estimated that losses could reach almost $300 million in the Baltimore area alone if the beetle were left unchecked.   In Maryland, ash is the most common street tree in Baltimore, making up about 10 percent of total trees.  Ash accounts for over three percent of trees in naturally wooded area in Baltimore and surrounding counties. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources also estimates that about 20 percent of our streamside trees, vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, are ash trees.

For more information about the emerald ash borer, log onto

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