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Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week is May 18-24

By Ardis Tobison
Hutchinson Leader

Citizens asked to help prevent infestations by not transporting firewood

Emerald ash borer may not be attacking Minnesota trees yet, but the state’s estimated 850 million ash trees are prime targets for the invasive pest.

With the pest now known to infest trees as close as northern Illinois, public officials are stepping up efforts to inform citizens about steps they can take to minimize the risk of EAB accidentally being imported into the state inside infested firewood or other products. The week of May 18-24 has been designated “Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week” in Minnesota.

All ash species in North America are susceptible to emerald ash borer, and more than 30 million ash trees have been killed since the insect was first introduced to the continent in the early 1990s. Emerald ash borer has been detected in seven states (Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia), and is found in new areas each year. The insect moves slowly on its own, but it can hitch a ride to new areas when people unknowingly move firewood, nursery products or other infested items.

Citizens can minimize the pest’s impact on Minnesota ash trees by delaying its arrival as long as possible and quickly identifying it once it arrives. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has established a statewide monitoring program to detect any emerald ash borer infestations. This year, the University of Minnesota Extension, the MDA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recruited more help by training 180 people throughout the state as emerald ash borer “first detectors.” The first detectors will serve as public contacts for information and help resolve reports of potential infestations.

What can you do to help keep emerald ash borer out of Minnesota?

Don’t transport firewood, even within Minnesota. Buy the wood you need locally from an approved vendor. Don’t bring any extra wood home with you, burn it all at the site from which you bought it.

Don’t buy or move firewood from outside Minnesota. If someone comes to your door selling firewood, ask them about the source of the wood. If it came from outside Minnesota, don’t buy it.

Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect you have found an emerald ash borer or see an ash tree you believe could be infested, visit the Web site www.mda.state.mn.us/invasives/eab. Got to the checklist, “Do I Have Emerald Ash Borer?,” to help rule out emerald ash borer or find information on how to get in touch with a first detector.

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