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Emerald ash borer found in Stearns County

The pest has never been found in Stearns County before. The county is under an emergency quarantine.
State officials report a new infestation of the emerald ash borer near Caledonia.

SAUK CENTRE, Minn. — Stearns County has been placed under an emergency quarantine after emerald ash borer was found in the city of Sauk Centre.

The dreaded invasive pest was found after city workers noticed damage to several trees. They alerted the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which checked the trees for confirmation.

The emerald ash borer has not been identified in Stearns County before this, so the MDA is putting an emergency quarantine in place to limit firewood and ash material from leaving the county.

A total of 18 Minnesota counties are under full or partial quarantines right now due to the pest. The ash borers kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients around.

There are three things everyone can do to keep emerald ash borers from spreading:

  • Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally, purchase heat-treated certified firewood, 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.
  • Watch your ash trees for infestation. If you think your ash tree is infested, go to mda.state.mn.us/eab and use the “Does my tree have Emerald Ash Borer?” guide. Suspected infestations can be reported to MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us.