Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture
News & Events
Find Iowa Products
For Immediate Release
Friday, January 28, 2011

Dustin Vande Hoef
Communications Director
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)

Rules Require Firewood to be Labeled with County and State where it was Harvested

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today highlighted new requirements that all packaged and bulk firewood sold in Iowa must include a label with the state and county where the wood was harvested.  These new requirements went into place this month and are designed to help slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

An EAB infestation was confirmed last year in Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa.  The infestation was on an island in the Mississippi River two miles south of the Minnesota border.  After extensive surveys and inspections around the state, no additional EAB infestations have been found anywhere in Iowa.

“Firewood has been the primary means of transporting this insect and starting new infestations, so this new rule is designed to address a key risk factor in EAB spreading across the state,” Northey said.  “Our Department has taken steps to communicate these new requirements with businesses selling firewood on both the wholesale and retail level, but also wanted customers to be aware and contact us if they see firewood without the appropriate labeling.”

In addition to EAB, other damaging plant pests can also be spread on firewood, including gypsy moth, Asian longhorn beetle, thousand canker disease of walnut, sirex woodwasp and mountain pine beetle.

The Department amended Chapter 46 the Iowa Administrative Code, “Crop Pests,” to require that every package of firewood offered for sale, sold or distributed include the harvest location of the wood by county and state.  The harvest location of wood sold in bulk must be included on the delivery ticket.  The rules became effective on January 1, 2011.

Specifically, the label on all firewood sold in Iowa must include the following information:

  • Identity of the commodity (e.g., ‘firewood’)
    • Identification of species group is allowed, but not required (e.g., 50% ash, 50% oak)
  • Net quantity in terms of cubic feet or cubic meters, including fractions. A cord is also acceptable, as it is 128 cubic feet, ranked and well stowed
  • Name and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor if the packages were not produced on the premises where they are being sold
  • Unit price (or it must be posted at the point of sale)
  • Harvest location of the wood by county and state

Iowans with additional questions or who see unlabeled firewood being sold can contact the Department’s Entomology Bureau at 515-725-1470.

After the discover of EAB in Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa, a quarantine has been put in place so regulated articles, including firewood, cannot be moved from Allamakee County unless a permit has been issued by either the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or if the article has been treated to exterminate any pests under the supervision of USDA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

EAB Overview
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is native to eastern Asia, and was detected in the United States near Detroit, Michigan in 2002.  EAB kills all ash (Fraxinus) species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing layers.

The metallic-green adult beetles are a half inch long, and are active from late-May to early-August in Iowa.  Signs of EAB infestation include one-eighth inch D-shaped exit holes in ash tree bark and serpentine tunnels packed with sawdust under the bark.  Tree symptoms of an infestation include crown thinning and dieback when first noticed, epicormic sprouting as insect damage progresses, and woodpecker feeding.

EAB has killed ash trees of various sizes in neighborhoods and woodlands throughout the Midwest. Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to recent sources, Iowa has an estimated 58 million rural ash trees and approximately 30 million more ash trees in urban areas.

Iowa EAB Team members have been taking part in a collaborative effort to look for this pest since 2003.  Detection efforts have included visual surveys, sentinel trees, trap surveys, nursery stock inspections, sawmill/wood processing site visits, and hundreds of educational programs.

Last year EAB team members placed 1800 purple traps at high-risk areas in the state, including in a 1.5 mile grid along the Mississippi River.  Thirteen beetles were found on a trap near the initial outbreak.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also had 412 trap trees in the state this year, 12 of which are in Allamakee County.

The Iowa Emerald Ash Borer Team includes officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USDA Forest Service.

To learn more about EAB please visit the following websites:



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