CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire has given up fighting the emerald ash borer.
Since it was discovered in the state in 2013, New Hampshire has pursued a county-by-county quarantine - restricting the transportation of ash products over county lines. But now, similar to New York, the state has realized its efforts have been futile as the pest was detected in more counties. The state will no longer regulate the movement of ash logs, ash products, and firewood at the county level.
New Hampshire officials say the quarantine helped slow the spread in the very least, and are still telling people to burn firewood where they purchase it.
A native of Asia, emerald ash borers were found in the U.S. and Canada in 2002 and are considered one of the most destructive forest pests in North America, being responsible for millions of dollars in losses from the destruction of ash trees. In Maine alone, the estimated potential damage could be significant as the commercial ash tree value has been put at $320 million.
Some states still have quarantines in place, including Maine, where the pest's presence is an increasing problem.
“Slowing the spread of EAB is crucial,” the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said in a statement. “An emerald ash borer generally moves only about one half-mile on its own in a year, but can move hundreds of miles in a single day within a piece of infested firewood.”
The small metallic-looking beetles lay eggs on ash trees, and the hatching larvae tunnel under the trees’ bark, creating damage that usually kills a tree in as little as three to five years.
Officials say the quarantine helped slow the introduction of the pest to counties with high populations of ash trees, and they are still recommending that people using firewood follow the "Buy it where you burn it" rule to help slow the borer's spread, alongside other invasive species.
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