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Home > News, Media & Government Relations > News Releases > MDA identifies emerald ash borer in Washington County

News Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 8, 2015

MDA identifies emerald ash borer in Washington County

Washington County to become 11th county in Minnesota under quarantine for EAB

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today identified emerald ash borer (EAB) in Washington County. An adult EAB was found on a survey trap that had been placed at the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s St. Croix Rest Area on Interstate 94. During a follow-up visit, staff discovered a nearby tree had tunneling consistent with the invasive pest.

“These survey traps are one tool we have to search for emerald ash borer in areas close to know infestations, as is the case in Washington County,” said MDA Entomologist Mark Abrahamson. “With the help of these traps, private citizens on the lookout for signs of EAB, and private and public partners, we can identify new infestations of the insect early and take measures to slow its spread in the state.

Because this is the first time that EAB has been identified in Washington County, the specimen has been sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for confirmation, which is expected later this week. Pending confirmation, the MDA and USDA will work closely to determine appropriate follow-up actions.

One of the likely actions will place Washington County under an emergency quarantine. Washington County would join Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Fillmore, Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, Scott, and Winona counties in a state and federal quarantine. The quarantine is in place to help prevent EAB from spreading outside of a known infested area. It is designed to limit the movement of any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood.

The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae. There are three easy steps Minnesotans can take to keep EAB from spreading:

  • Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from approved vendors, and burn it where you buy it;
  • Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips, and firewood; and,
  • Watch your ash trees for infestation. If you think your ash tree is infested, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/eab and use the “Do I Have Emerald Ash Borer?” guide.

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. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 24 states. The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009. The last counties to be quarantined for EAB were Chisago and Scott in August 2015.

Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by EAB. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.

CONTACT: Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications
651-201-6185 / allen.sommerfeld@state.mn.us

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