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Emerald ash borer found in Blue Earth County

Emergency quarantine on wood movement put in place

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed emerald ash borer in Blue Earth County. There are now 27 counties in the state with EAB.

A resident in the city of St. Clair was cutting down an ash tree and noticed insect galleries in the wood. The homeowner contacted a local Department of Natural Resources forester who notified the Agriculture Department. MDA staff were able to find live emerald ash borer larvae and collect samples for federal identification.

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Often, the trees show several signs of infestation because of this. Woodpeckers like to feed on emerald ash borer larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of emerald ash borer. Also, the borer tunneling can cause the bark to split open, revealing characteristic S-shaped galleries underneath.

Because this is the first time emerald ash borer has been identified in Blue Earth County, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. The MDA issues quarantines for all counties known to have emerald ash borer to reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

Two virtual open houses for residents and tree care professionals in the county will be held on April 21. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. The meetings are from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. To register, visit www.mda.state.mn.us/eab

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the proposal to add Blue Earth County to the state formal quarantine. The MDA is taking comments on the proposed formal quarantine now through May 17 and recommends adopting the quarantine on May 21. The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs and hardwood firewood out of the county. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.