Emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered in Blue Earth County, prompting the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to issue an emergency quarantine.
EAB indicators were discovered when a St. Clair resident was cutting down an ash tree and noticed insect galleries in the wood. A press release says MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect samples for federal identification.
It’s the first time EAB has been identified in Blue Earth County, says to the release. In response, the MDA is enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood out of the county.
Quarantines are standard for any county known to have EAB, to help prevent further spreading of the tree-killing insect.
EAB 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. Trees might show several signs of infestation. Woodpeckers feed on EAB larva, so woodpecker holes could indicate the presence of EAB. Another sign of EAB tunneling is split bark that reveals characteristic S-shaped galleries underneath.
Two virtual informational meetings will be held on Wednesday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 6:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. MDA experts will give a brief presentation followed by a question/answer session.
The public can also provide input on a proposal to add Blue Earth County to the state formal quarantine. The MDA is taking comments now through May 17. Comments can be submitting during the informational sessions, or by emailing [email protected]