Emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that preys on ash trees, has been discovered in the city of Shakopee. 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed an emerald ash borer infestation in the city of Shakopee, according to a news release from the city. A local business reported an ash tree with bark cracks and woodpecker damage in the tree canopy — a tell-tale sign of possible EAB infestation — to the MDA for confirmation.

The city has been proactive preparing for EAB, the release said and treats a portion of the public ash trees at parks and along street boulevards. Now that EAB has been confirmed within city limits, the city of Shakopee will be evaluating and further developing a mitigation program. 

What to look for

This is the perfect time to look for woodpecker damage and other signs of emerald ash borer because trees are still bare, the release said. There are several things residents should look for when checking for emerald ash borer.

  • Be sure you’ve identified an ash tree. This is an important first step since EAB only feeds on ash trees. Ash have opposite branching — meaning branches come off the trunk directly across from each other. On older trees, the bark is in a tight, diamond-shaped pattern. Younger trees have a relatively smooth bark.
  • Look for woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers like EAB larvae and woodpecker holes may indicate the presence of EAB.
  • Check for bark cracks. EAB larvae tunneling under the bark can cause the bark to split open, revealing the larval (S-shaped) tunnels underneath.
  • Contact a professional. If you feel your ash tree may be infested with EAB, contact a tree care professional, the city, or the MDA at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 888-545-6684 (voicemail).

Know the risks

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by this invasive insect. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation.

The biggest risk of spreading EAB comes from people unknowingly moving firewood or other ash products harboring larvae. There are three easy steps residents can take to keep EAB from spreading:

  • Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from approved vendors, 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 www.mda.state.mn.us/eab and use the guide “Does my tree have emerald ash borer?”

For more information on emerald ash borer, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.