Ash borer quarantine changes are common sense

The recent quarantine reclassification for counties affected by emerald ash borers handed down by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development last week seem like good news to us.

The department’s order, which does not quarantine any new counties or areas, merged all of the Level II and Level III areas in the Upper Peninsula into Level II quarantine areas, making it easier to transport items from one county to the next.

Timber companies, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service are among the entities expected to benefit from the new designations.

We’re happy to see that things will be a bit easier for some businesses and governmental organizations to function here in the Upper Peninsula, but we hope they continue to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of this invasive insect.

The emerald ash borer, an exotic insect pest native to Asia, has wreaked havoc on ash trees across the country, killing tens of millions since the bug was first introduced to the United States, thought to have arrived on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes which originated in Asia.

The beetle was first discovered in Michigan near Detroit in 2002 and is now prevalent in every downstate county.

We’re pleased to see the ban on moving firewood across the Mackinac Bridge is still in effect, and we encourage anyone using firewood to strictly adhere to the sound policies that have kept the emerald ash borer from totally devouring ash trees in the U.P.

Gina Alessandri, the DARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division director, offered this advice in a news release on the quarantine revisions: “Use only local sources of firewood, burn all you buy and don’t take any unused firewood home or to the next location.”

Sounds pretty simple to us.