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Home > News, Media & Government Relations > News Releases > MDA identifies emerald ash borer in the city of Duluth

News Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 23, 2015

MDA identifies emerald ash borer in the city of Duluth

Find marks first EAB discovery in northern Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today identified emerald ash borer (EAB) in the city of Duluth. MDA staff found EAB larvae in an ash trees on Park Point. The find was discovered as part of a three-year study the MDA is conducting in partnership with the city.

The study is evaluating different methods for finding EAB, and one of those methods is removing samples of branches from ash trees to peel back the bark and look for signs of the insect. MDA staff found evidence of EAB in four of 35 trees sampled in this way.

“This area has been a focus of ours for several years, ever since the discovery of EAB just across the border in Superior, Wisconsin in August 2013,” said MDA Entomologist Mark Abrahamson. “Now that we have found the insect, we can work with our partners in the city of Duluth and St. Louis County, and residents and businesses to take measures to slow its spread in the northern part of the state.”

Because this is the first time that EAB has been identified in St. Louis County, the specimen have been sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for confirmation, which is expected within days.

Due to the unique location of the find, the MDA will be implementing an emergency state quarantine of Park Point in Duluth. A quarantine is designed to help prevent EAB from spreading outside of a known infested area by limiting the movement of any items that may harbor EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood. Currently 11 counties in Minnesota are under quarantine to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer.

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.

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.

Funding for the EAB project is provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislativeā€Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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

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