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Emerald ash borers confirmed in Sibley and Carver counties

White emerald ash borer larva on a piece of wood lying in a trough it has burrowed.
EAB larvae make s-shaped tunnels in ash trees.

Covid-19 may be slowing down our activities this year but it has had no effect on the movement of emerald ash borer (EAB). On Oct. 5, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that EAB has been found for the first time in Sibley and Carver counties in south central Minnesota.

Several trees with suspicious symptoms were found by a tree care professional near the Sibley and Carver county border, just north of the city of Belle Plaine. The MDA staff that came out to the site inspected trees and found live EAB larvae on both sides of the county line. These larvae were confirmed by Federal identification.

These are the 24th and 25th counties in Minnesota to confirm EAB. This invasive borer was first found in St. Paul in 2009. This find is not too surprising as these infested trees are a mere 7 miles from EAB found a few years ago in Jordan in Scott county.

EAB is the most important invasive insect attacking our urban trees and forests, having killed hundreds of millions of ash trees and costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Minnesota particularly has a lot to lose as we have nearly 1 billion ash trees in the state, one of the highest concentrations in the country.

Residents can help in the fight against EAB by watching for suspicious symptoms in ash trees.

  • Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers love EAB larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of EAB. Woodpecker activity is easier to see after the leaves have fallen.
  • Check for bark cracks. When EAB larvae tunnel under the bark, they can cause the bark to split open; you can see S-shaped tunnels caused by the EAB larvae underneath.

If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, contact a tree care professional, your city forester, or the MDA at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684.

For more information on EAB, see Emerald ash borer in Minnesota.

Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist

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