Emerald ash borer discovered in Austin

Published 11:26 am Friday, June 3, 2022

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The City of Austin encourages residents to look for signs of the emerald ash borer (EAB) after it was discovered in Austin.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed an EAB infestation in the City of Austin after a suspected infestation was reported to the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department and was confirmed by the MDA in late May.

There will be a virtual EAB informational meeting that will be held from 10-11 a.m. on June 8. Register Here. There are also previously recorded presentations available to view and those viewing links can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

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There are several things residents should look for when checking for emerald ash borer. 

  • Be sure you’ve identified an ash tree. This is an important first step since EAB only feeds on ash trees. Ash have opposite branching – meaning branches come off the trunk directly across from each other. On older trees, the bark is in a tight, diamond-shaped pattern. Younger trees have a relatively smooth bark.
  • Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like EAB larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of EAB.
  • Check for bark cracks. EAB larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval (S-shaped) tunnels underneath.
  • Contact a professional. If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, contact a tree care professional, your city forester, or the MDA at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684 (voicemail).

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by this invasive insect. 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 residents 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, go to https://www.mda.state.mn.us/eab-info-homeowners for resources on identifying EAB, how to hire tree care professionals, and insecticide options for protecting your ash tree. 

For more information on emerald ash borer, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.