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Deadly pest warning

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BATON ROUGE - The Department of Agriculture and Forestry is issuing a public service announcement before you put logs in the fireplace this season.

Pests have burrowed into trees and moving firewood around spreads them. To help stop the spread of these pests, ag agents made a PSA and began broadcasting it around the country, including Baton Rouge movie theaters.

The PSA is funded through grant money and takes place in a camp-like setting. People in the PSA speak about moving firewood and the dangers of spreading the beetle.

"We're trying to be so very careful, because it is causing a great deal of problems," said Commissioner Mike Strain.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Louisiana's ash trees are primarily located along the Atchafalaya Basin and the Mississippi River Delta. 

The bug is a native insect in Asia and was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. It's now in 24 states, including six counties in Arkansas near Hot Springs.

In October, the Redbay Ambrosia beetle and the tree killing fungus it transmits, were confirmed in Union Parish, La. It's a non-native pest that attacks the Laurel family of trees, which include the Red Bay, Sassafras, Spicebush and Camphor trees.

"The only way we have of stopping this disease is stopping the spread of the beetle," said Strain. "The way to stop it's transmission is not to move firewood."

Tens of millions of trees have been killed or infested since the discovery in the states in 2002.

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