Emerald ash borers found in Minneapolisby Melanie Sommer, Minnesota Public Radio,
Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State agriculture officials say emerald ash borers have been found in a Minneapolis neighborhood.
The insects were found in four trees in the Prospect Park-East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis, within Tower Hill Park, according to a statement from the Department of Agriculture.
The infestation is within a mile of the St. Paul neighborhood where ash borers were found in May 2009. This marks the first time the emerald ash borer has been found in Minnesota outside Ramsey County, but because of the proximity to the previous infestation, officials say they were not surprised by the discovery.
Last fall, scientists determined that the St. Paul infestation had been in place for about three years before it was detected. Since the adult beetles can fly up to 2 miles each year, officials expected that the bug had spread into Minneapolis.
The infested trees will be removed and park officials will conduct an intensive survey of all ash trees in the immediate area.
Agriculture spokesman Michael Schommer says once the beetles infest an area, they are nearly impossible to eradicate.
"So the goal in fighting emerald ash borer is to prevent it from showing up," said Schommer. "Once it does show up, it's really a matter of trying to slow its spread as opposed to eradicating it, as we are able to do with some of the other tree pests that we fight."
An emerald ash borer quarantine, which has been in place since last May for Ramsey and Hennepin counties, prohibits moving from the counties any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood. The quarantine remains in effect in 2010.
The emeral ash borer is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree's nutrients.
The metallic-green adult beetles are a half inch long, and are active from May to September. Signs of infestation include small D-shaped exit holes in ash tree bark, and tunnels under the bark.
Melanie Sommer is the managing editor of online for MPR News.