Created: 08/21/2014 6:44 PM KAALtv.com
By: Meghan Reistad
(ABC 6 News) -- An Emerald Ash Borer infestation was recently found in Olmsted County. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed it to be the first infestation of the insect in the county.
"The bug goes after the ash trees. It lays eggs under the bark and they create galleries where the larva feed. It cuts off the water and nutrients that go up and down the tree. It slowly kills the tree," said Kurt Hinz from the DNR.
Emerald Ash Borer was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009.
"It's not native to the country, but it arrived here probably on shipping material. They first found it in Michigan and now it has been spreading all over the eastern part of the country," said Hinz.
Hinz says it can be confused with other insects.
"Very bright emerald green color. There are a few insects that look similar to it. It's about the length of a penny,” said Hinz.
In order to prevent the insects from spreading, state and federal officials have set a quarantine on firewood leaving Olmsted County.
"It's going to keep continuing to spread; however, we can slow that down by not transporting firewood and trying to keep your wood as local as possible," said Hinz.
The infestation was found recently, but chances are, it has been here for a while.
"Usually when they find it, it's already been around for three to five years, so I imagine it's been in that area for quite a few years. It can move at a rate of about 15 miles per year so I guess I would be concerned," said Arborist Jon Marx.
Officials say the best way to detect Emerald Ash Borer is to look for signs of the tree dying, wood peckers being attracted to the tree or bark falling off in patches. If you see ash trees you think are infested, the DNR says to call an arborist, city forester or the DNR.