Monday, May 08, 2006

Pining Away

On May 1st, the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island were placed under quarantine by the USDA, due to the spread of the non-native pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda). An astute ISW reader sent in a note last month about the discovery of the beetle in traps placed in Massachusetts - looks like they've thrown Connecticut and Rhode Island into the mix just due to their close proximity.

According to the announcement, the quarantine means that "interstate movement of PSB regulated articles from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island must be done in accordance with 7 CFR 301.50-3(a)(1)." So "quarantine" is not as alarming as it sounds - it just requires that any PSB regulated articles need to have a permit before they can be moved from a quarantined state. So what's a "PSB regulated article"? Purdue University has a copy of the Federal Regulations, which state that this includes bark chips, Christmas trees, wood products with bark on them, pine used for making wreaths and garlands, and then pretty much anything else that is determined to have a risk of spreading the beetle.

The USDA has been tracking the spread of the pine shoot beetle for over a decade, and there are many other states also under quarantine. You can check out the archive of their reports here.

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