ST. PAUL, Minn. – Steele County is under quarantine after the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirms the presence of the emerald ash borer.
A tree care professional contacted state officials after noticing several dying ash trees in Medford. MDA staff found live ash borers and collected a sample for federal identification.
“We rely on partners in our tree care, logging, and landscaping industries to help us monitor for emerald ash borer and other invasive pests,” said Mark Abrahamson, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division. “However, we also need every Minnesotan to be vigilant. Know and look for signs of invasive pests; don’t move firewood and other materials around that may transport these insects; and, report anything unusual to us at the MDA.”
This is the first time emerald ash borer has been found in Steele County and an emergency ban on taking firewood and ash material out of the county is in place. The MDA says that brings to 20 the number of Minnesota counties under a full or partial quarantine to prevent the spread of this highly destructive pest.
An open house on the emerald ash borer problem will be held October 1, 6 to 8 pm at the Steele County Administration Building in Owatonna.
The MDA says Minnesota is extremely vulnerable to the emerald as borer since it has about one billion ash trees, the most in the country.