The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is issuing an emergency quarantine for the southeastern portion of St. Louis County after confirming a second emerald ash borer (EAB) detection within the City of Duluth.
The emergency EAB quarantine limits the movement of firewood and ash material out of the quarantined area of the county.
"Duluth area residents may be tempted to take firewood from within the quarantined area and transport it to cabins and campsites outside the quarantine," said MDA Plant Protection Division Director, Geir Friisoe. "We want to stress that this wood should not be moved."
The quarantined area runs form MN Highway 33/US Highway 53 on the west to the Lake County border on the east. The norther border of the quarantine runs form US Highway 53 along Three Lakes Road (Co. Highway 49) east to the intersection of Vermilion Trail. It then continues along the northern edge of Gnesen, North Star, and Alden townships. This extends south to the Carlton County/ Wisconsin border.
This new infestation was first discovered on private property by a tree care company. The company then notified the MDA of a possible EAB infestation. MDA staff were able to collect insect samples and send them to the United States Department of Agriculture for formal verification.
EAB was first found on Park Point in Duluth in October 2015. At the time, the MDA and federal officials quarantined only that area of the city because of its unique geographic location. But because this recent find is within the main southern portion of the county, the quarantine has been extended.
Currently, 13 other Minnesota counties are under quarantine to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer.
The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae. There are three easy steps Minnesotans 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 www.mda.state.mn.us/eab and use the “Does my tree have Emerald Ash Borer?” guide.
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. EAB was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009. The invasive insect has now killed tens of millions of ash trees in 27 states.
Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by EAB. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.