Laurel wilt, a devastating disease of red bay and sassafras trees that is transmitted by the red bay ambrosia beetle, was found recently in Panama City in the Florida panhandle. Initial symptoms of laurel wilt are a reddish or purplish discoloration of wilted foliage on infected trees. When the bark is removed, black discoloration is observed in the outer sapwood, and beetle damage is evident. Although neither the ambrosia beetle nor the disease have not yet been found in Louisiana, residents should be on the alert for them. It is extremely important that people avoid moving firewood as this is a great way to spread this insect/disease complex.
More information on this insect/disease complex is available in the Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/laurelwilt/index.shtml.
To learn about the dangers associated with the movement of firewood, visit the Web site http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/invasive_species&firewood/index.shtml