Emerald ash borer (EAB), the invasive insect that kills ash trees, continues to spread throughout the state. EAB Awareness Week, May 20-26, is the perfect opportunity to remind Ohioans of this pest's impact and their role in helping to limit its spread.

Ohio and several other states affected by this voracious beetle have marked EAB Awareness Week during the past few years, in an effort to spread the word about its impact on the environment and the economy. Since its discovery in Detroit in 2002, EAB has destroyed millions of native ashes and has the potential to completely erase these valuable hardwood and landscape trees from North America.

EAB infestations have been confirmed in most western and northern Ohio counties. So far in 2012, Columbiana, Guernsey and Muskingum in eastern Ohio have joined the list of infested counties. An EAB infestations map from the Ohio Department of Agriculture is available at http://go.osu.edu/EABmap.

"Even though the entire state of Ohio is now quarantined for EAB, we are still looking for and documenting new infestations in already infested counties and in those where the insect has not yet been spotted," said Amy Stone, an Ohio State University Extension educator who has conducted EAB outreach work since the pest was first identified in Ohio in 2003.

"We are asking individuals to report any suspected findings of EAB by calling 1-888-OHIO-EAB," she said.

As Labor Day approaches — and with it a new season of camping and other outdoor activities — Stone reminded Ohioans to consider the fate of ash trees and other important natural resources by not moving firewood around the state.

"Transporting infested or infected firewood can result in a dramatically more rapid spread of EAB and other harmful pests or diseases," Stone explained. "When it comes to firewood, we are asking people to 'buy local and burn local.' Doing that will go a long way in protecting our natural resources."

Learn more about EAB by logging on to http://ashalert.osu.edu and http://emeraldashborer.info.