Jacob McCleland contributed reporting for this story.
With the unofficial start of the summer season behind us, the Missouri Department of Conservation is urging campers not to transport firewood - in an effort to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer.
"Don't move firewood," said MDC forest entomologist Rob Lawrence. "It's not only the emerald ash borer that we're concerned about, and it's not just ash wood. There are a lot of pests that are not native to North America that have gotten carried in here, and they hitchhike on firewood."
The only known infestation of the invasive insect in Missouri is near Lake Wappapello, in southeastern Wayne County. The insect was first found there in 2008, and it's pretty well stayed put.
Containment efforts can be successful, says Lawrence, but eradication remains elusive.
"They've tried in other states to get completely ride of it once it gets into an area," he said, "and it's just not possible because we don't have real sensitive methods for detecting how far it spreads."
The shiny green beetle was accidentally introduced in Michigan in the early 1990s. It's since spread throughout the East and Midwest, devouring ash trees along the way.