Firewood is a year round tool in East Texas. In the winter, if you have a fireplace, you'll use it to help heat your home on those chilly or cold nights. In the spring and summer time, we'll use it outside in our firepits or for our campfire. We will also get that firewood from different places like the many vendors set up selling a stack on the side of the road or we'll just cut it ourselves. One thing you may not think about, or even know about, is that certain counties in Texas have a firewood quarantine in place.

A firewood quarantine?

There are certain insects that can be easily hiding inside of your firewood that can spread to healthy trees and possibly kill them. Because of this threat, the State of Texas has issued quarantines for several counties in Texas, including in East Texas. Violating these quarantines can result in fines (I was unable to find an amount online).

The quarantines have been put in place because of several invasive insects that can be found in firewood. Those insects will then spread to living trees, possibly killing that tree. The insects will reproduce causing other trees to become infected.

Different Species Found in Firewood

Currently there are quarantines in place because of the Emerald Ash Borer, this is a beetle that lives mostly in the bark of an ash tree. These beetles can devastate any ash tree they get to. In East Texas, Hopkins, Bowie, Cass, Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Rusk, and Titus counties all have quarantines in place because of this beetle.

texasagriculture.gov
texasagriculture.gov
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Another insect that has caused about half of Texas to quarantine firewood from is the pecan weevil. These insects feed off of immature pecan nuts which kills the pecan. The female weevil will lay her eggs in a fully mature pecan nut. When those eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the nut, killing it.

texasagriculture.gov
texasagriculture.gov
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Fire ants are another problem insect in Texas that has caused quarantines to be issued in about two thirds of Texas counties, including all of East Texas. It is very easy to spread fire ants through hay or flower shipments.

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texasagriculture.gov
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What can be done to prevent the spread of these invasive insects?

If you buy your firewood, make sure that firewood is from your county. If it is not, you could possibly help in the spread of these invasive species. You may want to let that seller know, too, so they can avoid a fine. The other solution is to cut your own firewood from your land. If you have to buy hay, make sure it has been stored off the ground to greatly reduce the chance of spreading fire ants.

dontmovefirewood.org
dontmovefirewood.org
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There are a plethora of resources to learn more about this, especially if you're like me and never knew about any of this. dontmovefirewood.org is a great place to start. You can also learn a great deal about the various invasive insects at texasagriculture.gov.

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