Wabasha Cty residents invited to meeting on emerald ash borer

Residents of Wabasha County are invited to a public meeting on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 regarding the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) in the county.

MDA-logoOn February 29, 2016, Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff identified EAB larvae in an ash tree in the southeastern corner of the county after being alerted to some suspicious trees by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff.

The trees displayed symptoms of EAB infestation, including bark splits and insect tunneling under the bark.

Those attending the upcoming meeting will have an opportunity to listen to presentations on EAB, hear about local options to deal with the insect, and learn how residents can limit the spread of the bug. Experts from the MDA, University of Minnesota, and other state and federal partner agencies will be available to answer questions.

Emerald Ash Borer Informational Meeting
Thursday, March 31, 2016
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Wabasha County Courthouse
625 Jefferson Avenue
Wabasha, MN 55981

Emerald Ash Borer concerns in Wabasha

Emerald ash borer concerns are prompting a public meeting in Wabasha County at the courthouse to discuss concerns about the insect, which has been found in the southern part of the county. (photo from tn.gov)

The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on the adoption of a formal EAB quarantine of Wabasha County. An emergency quarantine was placed on the area when EAB was discovered.

The MDA will take comments on the formal quarantine from March 15 – May 1, 2016 and proposes to adopt the quarantine on May 15, 2016.

The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs, and hardwood firewood out of the county. The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab. Comments can be made at the public meetings or by contacting:

Kimberly Thielen Cremers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155
mailto:kimberly.tcremers@state.mn.us
Fax: 651-201-6108

Emerald Ash borer concerns in Wabasha County

Emerald ash borers emerge from an infected tree. EAB infestation concerns are the reason for a public meeting at the Wabasha County Courthouse on Thursday, March 31, beginning at 5:30. (Photo from ars.usda.gov)

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 invasive insect. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation. For more information on emerald ash borer, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.

Stingless wasps to battle with emerald ash borer

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) continues to wage war on emerald ash borer (EAB) with the help of stingless wasps. This year the department released over 182,500 wasps in the Twin Cities metro area and southeastern Minnesota. This is over 5,000 more wasps than the previous four years combined.

Borer

Here is an Emerald Ash Borer with it’s wings open. (photo from www.extension.umn.edu)

Since EAB is not native to North America, it has no known natural enemies here. After years of research and rigorous testing, scientists found the insect’s enemies – stingless wasps – in the EAB’s native Asia. This pest control strategy is referred to as biological control, or biocontrol.

The strategy pairs an invasive pest with natural enemies. The wasps kill ash borer eggs and larvae.

The wasps were produced and supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture EAB Parasitoid Rearing Facility in Michigan. The facility makes the insects available to states fighting EAB.

Stingless wasps

Minnesota officials will release parastic wasps this month at Riveredge Nature Center near Newburg to attack the destructive emerald ash borer. (Photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

This fall MDA staff have been able to recover stingless wasps in Great River Bluffs State Park near Winona. The tiny insects were released in the park in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Since the wasps only feed on EAB and have reproduced for several generations, scientists know the wasps have found and killed EAB living in the park’s ash trees.

It is the MDA’s goal to continue to expand the use of the wasps with the expanding EAB infestations.

The long-term goal is for EAB infestations to have established parasitoid wasp populations that can eventually bring EAB population numbers down to a level where ash trees can survive EAB infestations.

“The MDA is still early in this process, but we’re excited that we’ve been able to recover parasitoid wasps and are hopeful for long-term success,” said Jonathan Osthus, MDA’s EAB Biological Control Coordinator. “This is the best tool we have at the forest level to combat emerald ash borer.”

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is trying to connect young farmers with more opportunities to find land to farm on.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is trying to connect young farmers with more opportunities to find land to farm on.

As new EAB infestations are identified they are analyzed for potential wasp releases. Minnesota has confirmed EAB infestations in Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Fillmore, Hennepin, Houston, Olmsted, Ramsey, Scott, Washington, and Winona counties, and Park Point in Duluth.

The MDA has an interactive map of wasp releases and infested EAB trees. Go to http://gis.mda.state.mn.us/eab/ for details.

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. The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009.

Biological control of EAB is one of several joint MDA and University of Minnesota projects funded through an Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund grant as recommended by the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources.

Bitter winter has impact on gypsy moth in Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Ag Logo Last winter’s harsh temperatures have resulted in some positive benefits – a decline in the state’s gypsy moth population. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) captured approximately 500 moths this year in traps around the state. That’s a major shift from last year’s count of over 71,000 moths.

“We knew going into this survey season that our numbers would be down,” said Kimberly Thielen Cremers, MDA’s Gypsy Moth Program Supervisor. “Studies have shown extended stretches of extreme cold have an impact on gypsy moth eggs as they overwinter. However, we cannot let our guard down over this invasive insect.”

In fact, University of Minnesota research has shown gypsy moth egg masses can survive a harsh winter if located below the snowline.

“While the decrease in moths is good news, we know they will bounce back quickly.” said Dr. Brian Aukema of the forest insect laboratory at the University of Minnesota. “A single surviving egg mass will produce more than 500 hungry caterpillars.”

The placement of survey traps throughout the state also affected 2014 trapping numbers.

“We placed 60 percent fewer traps in the quarantined counties of Lake and Cook this year,” said Thielen Cremers. “We know a reproducing population is established there; 90 percent of the moths caught in the state in 2013 were in those two counties, so this year we placed more traps ahead of that established population to keep on top of the spreading gypsy moth infestation.”

Gypsy moth caterpillars, which are not native to North America, eat the leaves of many trees and shrubs. Severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by drought or other factors.

A male, gypsy moth caterpillar (photo from www.constructionandtreeservices.com)

A male, gypsy moth caterpillar (photo from www.constructionandtreeservices.com)

Last winter’s harsh temperatures have resulted in some positive benefits – a decline in the state’s gypsy moth population. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) captured approximately 500 moths this year in traps around the state. That’s a major shift from last year’s count of over 71,000 moths.

“We knew going into this survey season that our numbers would be down,” said Kimberly Thielen Cremers, MDA’s Gypsy Moth Program Supervisor. “Studies have shown extended stretches of extreme cold have an impact on gypsy moth eggs as they overwinter. However, we cannot let our guard down over this invasive insect.”

In fact, University of Minnesota research has shown gypsy moth egg masses can survive a harsh winter if located below the snowline.

“While the decrease in moths is good news, we know they will bounce back quickly.” said Dr. Brian Aukema of the forest insect laboratory at the University of Minnesota. “A single surviving egg mass will produce more than 500 hungry caterpillars.”

The placement of survey traps throughout the state also affected 2014 trapping numbers.

“We placed 60 percent fewer traps in the quarantined counties of Lake and Cook this year,” said Thielen Cremers. “We know a reproducing population is established there; 90 percent of the moths caught in the state in 2013 were in those two counties, so this year we placed more traps ahead of that established population to keep on top of the spreading gypsy moth infestation.”

An example of tree damage from gypsy moth infestations (photo from gypsymothalert.com)

An example of tree damage from gypsy moth infestations (photo from gypsymothalert.com)

Gypsy moth caterpillars, which are not native to North America, eat the leaves of many trees and shrubs. Severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by drought or other factors.

For more information on gypsy moth, go to www.mda.state.us/gypsymoth.