Tree-Killing Bug Found in Superior

Posted at: 08/15/2013 1:42 PM | Updated at: 08/15/2013 10:52 PM

The Emerald Ash Borer, a destructive bug that has killed trees in other parts of the country, has been found in the Northland for the first time.

Officials announced the discovery in Superior Thursday.  City workers discovered telltale signs of EAB when removing a dead tree last week: D-shaped exit holes and S-shaped tunnels under the bark.  City employees sent samples of the insects to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which confirmed the bugs to be EAB.

The nearest EAB infestations previously were in St. Paul and the Keeweenaw Peninsula of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The discovery of EAB in Superior means a quarantine is now in place for all of Douglas County.  The quarantine prohibits citizens and businesses from moving ash wood products and hardwood firewood out of the county.  Businesses which handle wood products that could carry EAB must work with DATCP to assure that their products are pest-free before shipping.

In a press release, DATCP recommended the following steps for Superior and Douglas County property owners who have ash trees:

  • Keep a close watch on ash trees for signs of possible EAB infestation:  Thinning in the canopy, D-shaped holes in the bark, new branches sprouting low on the trunk, cracked bark, and woodpeckers pulling at the bark to get to insect larvae beneath it.
  • Consider preventive treatments if your property is within 15 miles of a known infestation. Whether to treat depends on the age, size and number of ash trees. Treatment costs vary depending on size of the tree and whether you do the treatments yourself or hire a professional.
  • Consider planting different species of trees that are not susceptible to EAB.
  • Call a professional arborist for expert advice, and visit emeraldashborer.wi.gov for detailed information.

The City of Duluth announced that it will work alongside the City of Superior to slow the spread of the pest.  Duluth Parks and Forestry staff have been trained to detect EAB, and the city said it would work with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to provide training and educational opportunities for the public.

EAB is native to China and first showed up in Michigan about ten years ago.

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