March 20, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed emerald ash borer (EAB) in Rice County in southern Minnesota. This is the 22nd county in the state with EAB.

A Faribault Public Works Department employee contacted the MDA after they noticed an ash tree with EAB symptoms on private property in the city of Faribault. MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect a sample for federal identification.

“The Faribault city employee was able to identify the signs of EAB thanks to an MDA workshop he attended earlier this month,” said Mark Abrahamson, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division. “That’s why knowledge of the signs and symptoms of this insect is so important in limiting its spread.”

There are several things residents should look for when checking their ash trees for emerald ash borer.

  1. Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like EAB larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of EAB.
  2. Check for bark cracks. EAB larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval (S-shaped) tunnels underneath.
  3. Contact a professional. If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, contact a tree care professional, your city forester, or the MDA at or 1-888-545-6684.

Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Rice County, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. This will reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

An open house for residents and tree care professionals will be announced at a later date.

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. The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009 and is now found in 35 states.

EAB will have a major impact on Minnesota. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.

There is more EAB information on the MDA website.


Media Contact
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications