Another 11 ash trees in southeast Minneapolis have been infested with emerald ash borer, city officials confirmed Monday.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said that 15 ash trees in or near Tower Hill Park have now been infested with the destructive beetle. State officials say they have identified another 25 park trees where infestation is suspected.
Officials discovered the first four infested trees in the park in February. The discovery marked the first time the emerald ash borer had been found in Minnesota outside of Ramsey County.
Crews from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's Forestry Division will remove all 40 trees by next week Monday.
The emerald ash borer has already destroyed millions of trees in the United States. The beetle's larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, and destroy the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients.
The beetle was first discovered in the Twin Cities in May 2009 in St. Paul, about one mile from the Minneapolis site.
In response, officials placed restrictions on the movement of trees in Ramsey and Hennepin counties, with the hopes of slowing the spread of the beetle throughout the metro area.
Agricultural experts have said that once emerald ash borers infest an area, they are nearly impossible to eradicate.