This week marks National Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. And while Nebraskans prepare for their summer vacations, the Nebraska Forest Service wants to remind travelers that they can play an important part in slowing the spread of invasive species like the emerald ash borer (EAB).

“If left to its own devices, EAB won’t travel much further than five miles from where it hatched,” said the Forest Health Specialist, Dave Olson. “It is widely known that the main reason the insect keeps spreading is because of people transporting the insect unintentionally.”

The easiest way to prevent an accidental introduction is to not move firewood, said Olson. Instead, look for people selling wood near your campground or ask the park staff if they have wood for sale. Another easy and overlooked option is to clean your belongings. Wash your vehicles, camping gear, and pets before traveling to or from areas with a known EAB population. It might seem excessive, but these measures go beyond EAB Olson said.

“The spread of invasive species is huge problem in the US, and Nebraska is no exception. We need to be aware that our cars and even our clothes are like expressways for invasive species. If we aren’t actively looking for these hitchhikers, anyone of us could unknowingly introduce a species that may have negative impacts for years to come.”

The recommendations by the Nebraska Forest Service come on the heels of latest EAB discovery in Lincoln last month. It marked the sixth sighting in the state – joining communities like Omaha and Fremont.

For more on EAB, including treatment options, and recommendations for trees to replace ash, visit eabne.info.