Waseca County joins list of counties in southeastern Minnesota with emerald ash borer

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Waseca County for the first time. There are now 32 counties in the state with EAB, including Mower, Freeborn, Fillmore, Houston, Winona, Olmsted, Goodhue, Dodge and Steele Counties in southeastern Minnesota.

A local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forester noticed woodpecker damage on several ash trees in Janesville and alerted the MDA. MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect samples. Federal identification confirmed emerald ash borer.

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. Often, the trees show several signs of infestation because of this. Woodpeckers like to feed on EAB larvae and woodpecker holes, like the ones spotted by DNR staff, may indicate the presence of emerald ash borer. Also, EAB tunneling can cause the bark to split open, revealing characteristic S-shaped galleries underneath.

Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Waseca County, the MDA 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.

Virtual informational meetings for residents and tree care professionals will be held on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Experts from the MDA will give a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the proposal to add Waseca County to the state’s formal quarantine. The MDA is taking comments on the proposed formal quarantine now through May 12, 2022, and recommends adopting the quarantine on May 16, 2022. The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs and hardwood firewood out of the counties. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

Comments can be made during the virtual meeting or by contacting:
Kimberly Thielen Cremers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North St. Paul, MN 55155
[email protected]

EAB was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009.