The state agriculture department hopes Missouri can avoid an economic and ecological disaster caused by a beetle that likes certain kinds of wood. The Walnut Twig Beetle carries a fungus as it bores into walnut trees. The fungus kills the living tissue in places where the beetle has been. In time the Thousand Canker fungus kills enough of the living tissue that the tree dies.
The agriculture department has banned the importation of all walnut logs, nursery stock, firewood, green lumber, budwood and other living or dead plant material from nine states where the beetle and the fungus have been found.
State entomologist Colin Wamsley says a significant contributor to Missouri’s economy could be endangered. He says Missouri is the nation’s top black walnut producing state and has 55 million walnut trees, more than double the number of any other state. The conservation department estimates our wood products industry would lose 36-million dollars a year in wood products losses, 65-million dollars a year in urban street tree losses and 35-million in nut production losses.
Black walnut trees are native to states from Kansas to the east coast. The ban affects walnut wood from Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho; Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico; as well as from Nevada and Colorado. The ban does not apply to the nuts themselves. They do not appear to carry the beetle or the fungus.