New year, new quarantines: updates on the mountain pine beetle and emerald ash borer

The year 2014 concluded with a lot of activity in the area of  invasive species and forest health in Minnesota. Specifically, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture instituted a statewide quarantine for the mountain pine beetle and emerald ash borer was confirmed in a new county in the state.  Subsequent actions are two excellent examples of how the state is being proactive to slow the spread of these invasive species within Minnesota.

Mountain pine beetle – statewide quarantine

Effective January 1, 2015, the MDA has issued a statewide quarantine to protect Minnesota’s vast pine forests from the mountain pine beetle. This exterior quarantine is designed to stop the spread of any wood infested with the beetle into Minnesota. In addition to the beetle itself, the movement of pine wood with intact bark is prohibited through the quarantine.

Mountain pine beetle, photo by Derek Rosenberger
Mountain pine beetle, photo by Derek Rosenberger

Native to western North America, the mountain pine beetle is known as one of the most damaging forest insects in the continent. Currently, 13 western US states have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle. The beetles inhabit a large variety of pine species by laying eggs underneath the bark and spending the majority of their life cycle there. It is unknown how these beetles may impact Minnesota’s eastern pine species, primarily red and eastern white pine.

For more specific language on the mountain pine beetle quarantine, visit the MDA’s page.

Emerald ash borer – Dakota County quarantine

Adult emerald ash borer, photo: Jeff Hahn UMN Extension
Adult emerald ash borer, photo by Jeff Hahn

Emerald ash borer was recently observed in the city of Eagan, making Dakota county the sixth county in Minnesota to be quarantined (others include Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, and Winona). The state and federal quarantine for the county is established to limit the spread of EAB outside of quarantined areas and includes ash trees, wood chips, and hardwood firewood.

The emerald ash borer is a nonative insect that impacts numerous ash species. Ash trees are killed as insect larvae move underneath a tree’s bark. Minnesota has a tremendous volume of ash trees in its forests and cities, which speaks to the concern of EAB across the state. The first finding of EAB was confirmed in Minnesota in Ramsey County in 2009.

What can you as a landowner or forest manager do to be proactive in fighting against EAB? See our resources for managing ash and EAB in your woods or learn more about EAB in Minnesota.

Matt works on issues related to forest ecosystem health. He's based in St. Paul.

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