The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently announced the discovery of an emerald ash borer infestation (EAB) in St. Paul just northeast of the intersection of Interstate 94 and Highway 280. This is the first detection of the destructive tree pest in Minnesota.
The infestation was initially reported to MDA by Rainbow Tree Care Company on Wednesday. After receiving the report and conducting an initial inspection, MDA submitted larvae from the infested trees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for confirmation as EAB. USDA made that preliminary confirmation this morning. In response to this finding, MDA plans to issue a quarantine prohibiting the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber or any other article that could spread EAB in Ramsey and Hennepin counties. This quarantine is expected to be followed by a federal quarantine within days.
MDA staff will now conduct a thorough survey of trees in the surrounding area to assess the extent of the infestation. Information from this survey will help determine the response strategy implemented by state and local officials. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are working closely with MDA in the response.
EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree's nutrients. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in 10 eastern states. With an estimated 900 million ash trees, Minnesota is a prime target for EAB. Earlier this year, MDA issued a quarantine for Houston County in response to a EAB infestation across the border in Wisconsin. (Contact: Amy Mann)