May 19-25 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

BISMARCK– An insect that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States is now threatening North Dakota.

“The emerald ash borer (EAB) is now widespread in Minneapolis-St. Paul area,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Given the traffic along I-94 between North Dakota and the Twin Cities, it will be more difficult than ever to keep this pest out of our state.”

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed May 19-25 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in North Dakota.

Goehring said the threat to North Dakota's trees cannot be overestimated.

“In the past decade, EAB has spread across nearly two dozen states, killing millions of ash trees,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “North Dakota has approximately 78 million ash trees and ash is one of the primary trees species in many of our communities as well as in rural plantings and native forest areas.”

State Forester Larry Kotchman urged citizens to take an active role in preventing EAB from entering North Dakota.

“Please buy your firewood from local sources, and if you are coming from out of the state, please don't bring firewood with you,” he said. “EAB spreads slowly on its own, but it can be moved long distances in firewood and ash nursery stock.” 

Moving uncertified firewood out of the areas under quarantine for EAB is a federal offense.

City foresters will tie ribbons along with informational flyers on publicly-owned ash trees in 30 North Dakota cities. State parks will also participate. The event is organized by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA), the North Dakota Forest Service (NDFS) and the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

NDDA, NDFS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and city foresters will place about 350 EAB traps in cities, state parks, recreation areas, campgrounds, rest stops and county fairgrounds.

The two-foot-long, three-sided, purple traps are baited with a lure attractive to emerald ash borers. The traps will be monitored through August during the adult flight period.

“If you come across one of these traps, please leave it alone,” Goehring said.

The survey is part of nationwide effort involving 49 states.

Native to Asia, EAB attacks and kills all species of ash trees. It was first detected in the U.S. in  2002 near Detroit and is now found in 21 states and two Canadian provinces.

EAB only attacks ash trees. The larvae feed under the bark, disrupting the movement of water and nutrients and killing the tree within several years.

More information about EAB is available on the NDDA website at http://www.agdepartment.com/ or www.ndinvasives.org.