Due to extensive press coverage, most Missourians are aware of the destructive potential of emerald ash borer (EAB), which has killed tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan and Ohio. Most also know that an EAB infestation was discovered In Wayne County MO in 2008. Fortunately, this pest has not yet been found anywhere else in Missouri. However, its presence in the state reinforces the need for concerned Missourians to do what we can to slow the spread of this and other exotic pests. The two most important things we can do are to learn to identify potential invaders and help to educate less plant savvy citizens about the potential for spreading pests with firewood, infested plant material and recreational vehicles. There is excellent information about EAB on the web at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/. The Missouri Department of Conservation also provides good information about the potential for spreading pests via firewood at http://mdc.mo.gov/forest/features/firewood.htm.
Two potentially destructive exotic insect pests that have faded from public awareness in Missouri are Gypsy Moth and Asian Longhorned Beetle. Unfortunately, these pests have not gone away. Gypsy Moth (GM) has been slowly working its way west and is currently infesting parts of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. An excellent GM website maintained by the US Forest Service can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/morgantown/4557/gmoth/ . A GM trapping program has been in place in Missouri for a number of years. A recent memorandum from the Missouri Department of Agriculture reported that more moths (22) were found in pheromone traps around the state in 2009 than in any year since 1995. While we do not yet have a verified infestation, it is important remind those camping in GM-infested areas to check their vehicles for egg masses before they return to Missouri. Firewood should never be transported from an infested area.
Although the Asian Longhorned Beetle was thought to have been eradicated in the Chicago area, there is new evidence that it may be back. Also, a large new infestation has been found in western Massachusetts. Again, it is critical that Missourians know the dangers of moving firewood and other lumber that may be infested with this very destructive pest. An excellent guide on identification of Asian Longhorned beetle can be found at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/palerts/alb/alb_pa.pdf.
REVISED: October 8, 2013