Ag Dept. reports new ash borer infestations

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says there are three new emerald ash borer infestations in the Twin Cities.

One infestation is in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. State staff confirmed two other infestations in St. Paul near the intersection of Lexington Parkway and Jessamine Avenue and along Pig's Eye Lake Road.

The Department of Agriculture said Friday that Minneapolis and St. Paul city staff suspected infestations after they spotted woodpeckers feeding on ash trees, which is an indication of insect activity.

Department of Agriculture entomologist Mark Abrahamson said the discoveries are disappointing but pointed out that all three infestations remain contained within the existing metro quarantine of Ramsey and Hennepin counties. He said the trees have probably been infested for three to four years.

Emerald ash borer has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 18 states. Its larvae tunnel into wood and feed on nutrients. The Department of Agriculture says the pest spreads when infested wood is moved to an area that doesn't already have emerald ash borer.

Trees that are infested may have tiny "D" shaped holes and winding tunnels under the bark.

The department offered tips to prevent spreading the insect:

-- Don't transport firewood. Buy and burn local firewood to prevent movement of EAB.

-- If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, wood chips and firewood. Details can be found online.

-- Watch your ash trees for infestation. If you think your ash tree is infested, contact MDA at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or leave a voicemail message at 888-545-6684 to report concerns.

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