June 07, 2013

Quarantine Expanded to Slow Spread of Invasive Pest

Missouri's quarantine on pine products in northeastern Missouri has been expanded to include Adair and Clark counties. The quarantine, an effort to reduce the spread of the match head-sized Pine Shoot Beetle, initially affected Macon, Marion and Lewis counties and was recently expanded as a result of signs of the beetle found during routine survey efforts.

Following last year's findings of the invasive Pine Shoot Beetle in northeastern Missouri, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine limiting the movement of pine trees and wood out of three counties. Affected products, which include Christmas trees, pine nursery stock, bark mulch and pine logs, may not be moved out of the quarantined counties without first entering into a compliance agreement through USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine.

Detailed information on moving pine products under a compliance agreement is available by contacting USDA-APHIS.

A native of Europe, the beetles are black and brown in color, roughly 1/8 inch in length and have a cylindrical body shape. The Pine Shoot Beetle feeds on new pine tree shoots, stunting the growth of the trees. The beetle may also attack stressed pine trees by breeding under the bark. The beetles can cause severe decline in the health of trees, and in some cases, death.

The Missouri departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources work with federal staff from USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as researchers at the University of Missouri, to monitor Missouri's forests and urban areas for pests. The agencies also work together to raise awareness of the impact the Pine Shoot Beetle could have on Missouri's nearly 225,000 acres of forest pine valued at $482 million. Staff members also inspect incoming shipments of nursery stock, which may harbor the borers and other invasive pests.

The Pine Shoot Beetle quarantine is one of several Missouri has in place to protect the state's trees from invasive forest pests. Foresters, arborists, landscape and nursery workers and landowners should also be aware of quarantines affecting both ash and walnut wood products from other states, including firewood, as a preventative measure to prevent the spread of Emerald Ash Borer and an infestation of Thousand Cankers Disease of Black Walnut.

For more information about the Pine Shoot Beetle, plant and pest quarantines and the Missouri Department of Agriculture's other programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.