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Emerald ash borer reaches Nicollet, Redwood counties

Emergency quarantines on wood movement have been put in place with the recent discovery of the invasive insect emerald ash borer in Redwood and Nicollet counties in southwest Minnesota.

An emerald ash borer beetle sits on a leaf in this undated photo. University of Minnesota researchers are working on a new fungus-based solution to battle the invasive bugs that can destroy ash trees. (Contributed photo/University of Minnesota)

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer in Nicollet and Redwood counties for the first time. The invasive insect is now found in 30 counties in the state.

A department employee was surveying for emerald ash borer near reported infestations in Brown County when he noticed ash trees with signs of the insect at Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Park Campground in Sanborn, Redwood County , and across the Minnesota River from New Ulm in Lafayette Township, Nicollet County . Both sites are less than 10 miles from previously confirmed infestations. Department staff were able to find live 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 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 Nicollet and Redwood counties, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is enacting emergency quarantines to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the counties. The department issues quarantines for all counties known to have emerald ash borer to reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

Virtual informational meetings for residents and tree care professionals will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Experts from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

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Virtual informational meetings

The informational meetings will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. or from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15. You may register at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab .

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the proposal to add Nicollet and Redwood counties to the state formal quarantine. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is taking comments on the proposed formal quarantine now through Jan. 6, 2022, and recommends adopting the quarantine on Jan. 10, 2022. The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs and hardwood firewood out of the counties. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab .

Comments can be made during the virtual meeting or by contacting: Kimberly Thielen Cremers, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert Street North St. Paul, MN 55155 or by email at kimberly.tcremers@state.mn.us .

Emerald ash borer was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009.

There is more information on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab .

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