Invasive insect pests and diseases are threatening the future forests of Virginia. The transport of firewood is one of the primary means by which these harmful insects and diseases spread. To find out more information about the threats of moving firewood, go to the Don't Move Firewood website. Use these posters and this flier to help fight the spread of these destructive insects.
Quarantines have been issued by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to restrict the movement of firewood from counties where the pests have been found to counties without them. For more information on quarantines impacting the movement of firewood in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) probably arrived in wood packing material from Asia. The EAB adults are strong flyers but mostly cover only short distances, about half a mile. While the insects don't move far on their own, people unknowingly transport infested wood to non-infested areas. The larvae harm trees by tunneling under the bark and disrupting the tree’s food and water circulation, eventually starving and killing the tree. Click here for more information.
Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees It has spread to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
All of Virginia is under an EAB quarantine.
Thousand cankers disease (TCD) harms black walnut tree. Identified in planted eastern black walnuts in the western states in 2001, this insect-disease complex has been found in Virginia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania since 2010. Walnut trees are important because of their nut crop and the wood for various products. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia, is transmitted by a small twig beetle, approximately 1.8 mm in length. TCD is a progressive disease that kills a tree within two to three years after initial infection. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by repeated fungal infections as the beetles carry the fungus into new bark cambium tissue.
The quarantine area for Thousand Canker Disease includes Chesterfield, Fairfax, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King and Queen, King William, New Kent, Powhatan and Prince William counties as well as Colonial Heights, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Richmond.
Native to Europe and Asia, the gypsy moth was originally introduced to Massachusetts in 1869 to develop a disease resistant silk moth in an effort to begin a commercial silk industry. Several caterpillars escaped and established in surrounding areas. Although it took 20 years for the first outbreak, and despite efforts to suppress, the gypsy moth persisted and extended its range, moving north into Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to North Carolina. The first gypsy moth was found in Virginia in 1969 in Shenandoah National Park (Albemarle Co.). It was probably transported on a visitor’s vehicle. This area was treated, and the population was apparently eradicated. In 1980, the natural spread of the gypsy moth population reached northern Virginia, with the first major defoliation occurring in 1984. Two-thirds of Virginia is in the federally quarantined area (see map below).
Gypsy moth caterpillars have defoliated nearly 90 million acres nationwide since records were first documented in 1924. In Virginia, historical defoliation of nearly 5.5 million acres has cost over $17 million in suppression costs. Not included in these estimates are the economics associated with tree mortality, reduced tourism and adverse recreation and residential impacts due to defoliation and large numbers of caterpillars around dwellings and public areas.
A native of Europe, the pine shoot beetle was discovered at a Christmas tree farm near Cleveland, Ohio, in 1992. The insect is thought to have been introduced to the United States by foreign ships carrying beetle infested packing material. The beetle prefers Scotch pine but will feed and reproduce on most, if not all, species of pine. Adult beetles are 3 to 5 mm long, about the size of a match head.
The beetle attacks new shoots of pine trees, stunting the growth of the trees. It may also attack stressed pine trees by breeding under the bark at the base of the tree. The beetles can harm the health of trees and, when a high beetle population is present, kill the trees.
Natural dispersal of the pine shoot beetle can occur when they emerge from their overwintering sites. Studies have shown that adults can fly more than a mile in search of suitable host sites for mating and laying eggs. The movement of infested pine Christmas trees, pine nursery stock, bark mulch and pine logs can also disperse the beetles. Visit this site for more information.
The quarantine area for pine shoot beetle includes Clarke and Loudoun counties.