Emerald Ash Borer found in Cottonwood County

Emerald Ash Borer found in Cottonwood County
In an undated photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, an adult emerald ash borer is shown. The highly destructive insects which kill ash trees are metallic green and about 1/2-inch long. (Source: AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

COTTONWOOD COUNTY, Minn. (KEYC) - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says emerald ash borer has been found in Cottonwood County, making it the 26th county in the state with EAB.

MDA staff recently conducted a visual survey south of Comfrey where the insect had been found last summer. A grouping of trees south in Selma Township had typical woodpecker damage indicating the presence of EAB. MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect samples for federal identification.

MDA says an ash tree with EAB may show several signs of infestation, including woodpecker holes and bark cracks. Woodpeckers like to feed on EAB larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of emerald ash borer. Also, EAB larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval galleries underneath.

Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Cottonwood County, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. The MDA issues quarantines for all counties known to have EAB to reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

Two virtual open houses for residents and tree care professionals in the county will be held on Wednesday, February 24. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session from 10-11 a.m. or 6:30-7:30 p.m. Register at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab

The MDA is taking comments on a proposed formal quarantine through March 12. The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs and hardwood firewood out of the county. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says 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.

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