Stories tagged Emerald Ash Borer

Yes, it's really cold in Minnesota today. As I write this mid Monday afternoon, the outside temp is -14 degrees. Schools are closed, many people are working from home, there is great despair in general. Unless you are an ash tree. This cold snap might just wipe out a great share of the Emerald Ash Borer larvae. Of course, it's not good news if you're Emerald Ash Borer larvae.

Minnesota state officials have announced that ash trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer(EAB) beetles have been found in Minneapolis. This destructive insect pest had already been confirmed in St.Paul in 2009, so officials were not surprised to find that it had spread. A quarantine has been in place for much of the past year, restricting the movement of ash in and out of Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Minnesota has one of the largest concentrations of ash trees in the United States, making it particularly vulnerable. You can see a map here that shows where in Minnesota the EAB has been found, and can read more about how to detect or prevent the spread of this tree-killing pest in ARTiFactor's earlier post.


A Zebra Mussel
A Zebra MusselCourtesy USGS
Invasive species are getting to be more and more in the news lately, both nationally. Emerald ash borers, Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian lady beetles, zebra mussels, buckthorn and silver carp, just to name a very few, pose significant environmental and economic risks. But, they are a fact of life now, sadly, and its up to all of us to make sure we slow their inevitable spread as much as possible.

Zebra mussels have been recently discovered in four more Minnesota lakes – Lake Prior (Scott County), Pike Lake (near Duluth), Le Homme Dieu (Alexandria) and Rebecca (near Hastings) bringing the total number of lakes confirmed with zebra mussels in Minnesota up to 10. Eurasian watermilfoil is gaining ground too, recently discovered in Lake Florida, near Spicer.

As a result of the spread of these invasive species, the Minnesota DNR is stepping up its enforcement efforts. And while the DNR is doing its best, the message they want to get out is that its really up to everyone who spends time on a lake to stop their spread.

On a side note, the Cambridge Field Research Laboratory for the New York State Museum is researching a way to kill zebra mussels with natural bacteria. The bacteria treatment has to date not been tested in a lake, but has been successfully tested in water intakes at power plants. Once the treatment gets EPA approval, it will be tested in lakes, probably in a year or so.


Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash BorerCourtesy USDA
Driving around Saint Paul recently I’ve seen purple boxes hanging from trees, and I wondered what the heck they were. My wife helped me connect the dots between the purple boxes and the emerald ash borer (see ARTiFactor’s article for more info on the emerald ash borer). The Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota DNR is hanging the purple boxes to track and monitor the bugs.

We use a similar system in the museum. There are bug traps placed all over the museum that are not intended to eliminate bugs, but more to trap some so we know if bugs are in a certain areas of the museum and what kind of bugs they are.

The mailbox-sized trap’s color and smell attract the bugs and allow for tracking. The boxes will be removed this fall. Bark has also been removed from two dozen unhealthy trees in order to trap and track the pests. These trees will be cut down this fall as well.

The emerald ash borer is very difficult to detect. If you have an ash tree in your yard you can check for infestation by watching for die-back in the upper third of the tree, heavy activity by woodpeckers, D-shaped holes in the bark and S-shaped grooves under the bark. If you are a Saint Paul resident and notice these signs you are encouraged to call the forestry office at (651) 632-5129 if the tree is on public property and (651) 201-6684 if the tree is on private property.

I have also seen a massive number of billboards and heard radio ads from tree care companies promising treatment and protection from the pests. However, forestry experts indicate that there is no proven method for eradicating them.

The City of Saint Paul is preparing presentations for local district councils on what the City’s next step and what steps they can take to help. Several Saint Paul neighborhoods are potentially going to be especially hard hit as ash trees were popular with developers in post World War II neighborhood developments.

Updated information on the emerald ash borer for Saint Paul, Minnesota residents.


Use local firewood: Transporting firewood endangers ash trees
Use local firewood: Transporting firewood endangers ash treesCourtesy RoguePoet

Will ash trees follow the fate of elm trees?

About 30 years ago my neighbor's kid won a college scholarship for his sketch of the dead elm trees in front of my house marked with big red X's. Now I fear for the the giant ash trees across the street in Como Park.

Apparently the emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) has been damaging our ash trees for years. The EAB were officially discovered in St. Paul's Hampdem Park mid May, 2009.

Minnesota has the second highest number of ash trees in the nation after Maine. Many of them were planted to replace trees lost to Dutch elm disease a generation ago.


Where can I find information about the emerald ash borer?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) website has excellent information. Another, multinational website with the lastest information about EAB is I also recommend the University of Minnesota Extension website page which answers questions about ash trees and emerald ash borer beetles.

Frequently asked questions are below (click on them to get answers)


What is Saint Paul doing for its ash trees?

Park director Mike Hahm says Parks and Recreation will do everything we can to protect our tree canopy. Saint Paul has been preparing for this for some time. For over 5 years, we have been increasing the diversity of the tree species in Saint Paul and have not replaced or replanted Ash trees. A Pioneer Press article titled Protecting ash trees could cost St. Paul $2.8 million annually explains:

"Hahm plans to start a campaign of removing affected ash trees at a rate of 3,000 a year and replacing them with other trees the following spring. In St. Paul's St. Anthony neighborhood, 67 trees already have been cut down. Hahm said he plans to apply immediately for nearly $2.8 million in state and federal money to fight the infestation."

This link will take you to the St Paul website page on emerald ash borer info.


Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash BorerCourtesy USDA
I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this morning with my mom and daughter. Arboretums are awesome in general, but especially this time of year when all the spring blooms are in full effect. It was fun. One bit of news I learned while I was there was a bit of a bummer though, the Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Minnesota.

Minnesota has more ash trees than any other kind of tree and has the second highest number of ash trees in the nation after Maine.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species that is native to Asia that was first discovered in the US in Michigan in 2002. The adult borers are not very harmful to trees, but the larvae are very harmful, eating the underside of the tree's bark and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients.

Many ash trees were planted to replace trees lost to Dutch Elm Disease in cities and towns, which was the big tree disease when I was a kid. Interestingly, Dutch Elm Disease was also spread by an invasive Asian beetle, though in the case of Dutch Elm it was a fungus the beetles spread that was harmful to the trees, not the beetles themselves. With over 7.5 billion ash trees in the US the Emerald Ash Beetle has the potential to be far more destructive. The good news is that the borers seem to spread slowly - but the bad news is that when a tree is infested it is usually dead within a year.

To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer, follow the links in this blog. Click here to learn how to identify the Emerald Ash Borer.

I have to admit I've never heard of the Emerald Ash Borer. You can read more here to see why we're being asked to check any wooden planters we may have recently purchased. The little bugs that might be hiding in them aren't native here and could cause big havoc for our local ash trees.