The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) identified an emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation in Fillmore County. Suspected EAB larva and feeding activity consistent with emerald ash borer was found in a boulevard ash tree in the city of Rushford.

The infested tree was found through a routine visual survey of ash trees currently being conducted by the MDA. This survey is designed to find EAB in new locations at high risk for EAB infestation.

Because this is the first time that EAB has been identified in Fillmore County, a specimen has also been sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for confirmation, which is expected early next week. Pending confirmation, the MDA and USDA will work closely to determine appropriate follow up actions.

Fillmore County will likely be put under an emergency quarantine in the next week and eventually join Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, and Winona counties in a state and federal quarantine. The quarantine is in place to help prevent EAB from spreading outside a known infested area. It is designed to limit the movement of any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood.

Emerald ash borer 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 tens of millions of ash trees in 24 states. The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009. The last county to be quarantined for EAB was Anoka in March 2015.

Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by EAB. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.

The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae. There are three easy steps Minnesotans can take to keep EAB from spreading:
Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from approved vendors, and burn it where you buy it;
Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips, and firewood; and,
Watch your ash trees for infestation. If you think your ash tree is infested, click here and use the “Do I Have Emerald Ash Borer?” guide.