TREMPEALEAU, Wis. (WEAU) -- An invasive pest is slowly making its way north, which is bad news for your ash trees. The emerald ash borer has been captured at Perrot State Park in Trempealeau County and it may be a sign that campers need to be more cautious, before thinking about building a fire.
“If you go camping and you don’t smell like smoke then you don’t feel like you've really gone camping,” says John Finney who is camping at Perrot State Park this week.
For Finney and his family, campfire is what makes the camping experience.
“You can sit there and look at it for hours,” he says.
But someone's firewood may be to blame for bringing a destructive beetle to this park.
“A week ago, two of those traps were picked up and brought in to be checked and a single example of an adult ash borer was found in one of those traps,” says Jim Thompson, DNR and park supervisor at Perrot.
The trap is a three-sided sticky fixture that hangs up in an ash tree. On the hollow inside, there are cards with pheromones used to attract bugs like the ash borer.
There have been 12 other counties affected by the tree-killing emerald ash borers with neighboring Winona and La Crosse counties making the cut.
“Our next step is there's going to be a management plan put in place by our department,” says Thompson.
The DNR says Trempealeau County isn't under quarantine yet, but will be soon.
“Any of those who fall within 25 miles will be able to bring firewood even though it's located within quarantined county. At this time they cannot because we are not quarantined yet. Once we are the rules will chance slightly,” says Thompson.
But it's important to limit how much firewood travels across borders.
“Firewood is an excellent way to move pests. It's dead wood its dying wood and it’s something these particular insects are attracted to and by limiting its movement we are limiting the movements of these insects and invasive also,” says Thompson.
To prevent emerald ash borers from spreading, some campers like Finney say they're actually buying their firewood straight from the state park.
“We don't want to spread the disease. That's why we came here, we have the beautiful location here we love the trees and the outdoors so we don’t want to contribute to spreading a disease.”
MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) – The state is calling on landowners in Trempealeau County to find out if ash trees on their property are at risk for emerald ash borer infestation or already infested.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed that a single emerald ash borer was caught in a trap in Perrot State Park, which is in Trempealeau County, across the Mississippi River from an infestation in Minnesota. Now the state will put Trempealeau County under EAB quarantine. It hasn’t indicated exactly when that will be, but says it will be in the near future. It will affect some businesses that use some ash products, and means no hardwood firewood can leave the quarantine area.
The Department of Natural Resources is going to point out places in the park that need EAB management and monitoring, which could involve removing infested trees. Anyone at the park isn’t allowed to bring firewood from outside of a 25-mile radius of the park. People should also leave leftover wood at their campsites.
The tree-killing bug has been confirmed in 12 other Wisconsin counties: Brown, Crawford, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha.
The state wants people in Trempealeau County or other counties that have a known EAB infestation to get in touch with a private arborist or tree care professional to determine whether ash trees are infested or at risk. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection wants anyone with an infested ash tree on their property to let them know about it.
We’ll have more on this story tonight on WEAU 13 News at 5 and 6. You can find more information to help sort out EAB from other common ash problems by clicking on the link below.