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Extension > Source - Spring/Summer 2008 > Armed and ready to defend Minnesota ash trees

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Armed and ready to defend Minnesota ash trees

An Ash Tree

It's not a question of whether the emerald ash borer will invade Minnesota, but when.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borer

That's why a group of Extension experts has teamed up with the state's Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources to train "first detectors" in the fight against the small, green beetles that attack and kill ash trees.

Native to Asia, the emerald ash borer was first found in North America outside Detroit in 2002. The insect most often spreads through firewood, nursery stock or other ash materials, and has since shown up in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

First-detector volunteers, the state's first line of response in helping to identify the critter, were trained this spring in Andover, Cloquet, Fergus Falls, Mankato, Marshall and Rochester.

Minnesota is home to roughly 872 million ash trees on forest land—No. 2 in the nation—making the emerald ash borer a serious threat to the state's landscape. "Emerald ash borer has the ability to make an enormous impact on our forest environment and our city environment," said Angela Gupta, Extension forestry educator. "The sooner we can detect and manage for it, the better we will be as a state."

How can we stop the spread of emerald ash borer?

  • Don't move firewood. When camping, buy locally.
  • Burn firewood in the area it was purchased.
  • If you see your ash tree in a state of decline, check it against diagnostic aids at
  • If you have difficulty with the diagnostic aids, consult a certified arborist.
  • If you suspect the emerald ash borer, contact MDA's Arrest the Pest Hotline: 651-201-6684 in the metro area; 1-888-545-6684 in Greater Minnesota.

For more resources on the emerald ash borer, visit

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