Chisago becomes 9th Minnesota county infested by emerald ash borer


The emerald ash borer has marched a little farther north in Minnesota.

The state's Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that Chisago County has become the ninth Minnesota county to be infested by the pest.

Samples have been forwarded to federal labs and Minnesota's Ag Department expects confirmation from the USDA early next week.

Thursday's news means Chisago is likely to join the other Minnesota counties that have been put under an emergency quarantine. The main way emerald ash borers spread to new areas is in firewood, experts say. The quarantine prohibits moving firewood out of an infested county.

Minnesota has a lot to lose to the pest. Its 1 billion ash trees outnumber those in any other state, the agriculture department says. Nationwide, the borers have killed tens of millions of ash trees in two dozen states.

Mark Abrahamson, an entomologist with the state Department of Agriculture, tells MPR News the bug's spread is "kind of inevitable" and suggests it may be reaching a tipping point in Minnesota.

"We're reaching a period where it may start to build and spread more quickly, and that's something that has been seen repeatedly in places where emerald ash borer has been found," he says.

The University of Minnesota and the state Department of Natural Resources also have pages with information on how to identify emerald ash borers and slow their spread.

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


MDA enlisting dogs to detect emerald ash borer

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is hoping trained detection dogs will help locate ash trees infested with the invasive beetles. The organization Working Dogs for Conservation claims to have found encouraging results in training dogs to find emerald ash borers.

Ash borers' first new infestation of year is at Ft. Snelling golf course

Minnesota made it through most of the summer without a new infestation of the emerald ash borer. But that's ended now that the pest has turned up in trees at the Fort Snelling Golf Club. The Agriculture Department will check nearby Dakota County to see if it should be added to the list of four counties where firewood is quarantined because of the bug.