ST. CLOUD, Minn. (FOX 9) - Stearns County is under an emergency quarantine after agriculture authorities found emerald ash borer in Sauk Centre, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
City workers notifed the MDA when they noticed several trees with signs of emerald ash borer damage. Crews checked the trees and found emerald ash borer larvae.
The insect causes major damage to ash trees because the larvae tunnel beneath the bark and eat the part of the tree which provides the nutrients. Minnesota has more than 1 billion ash trees, which is the most in any state.
Officials believe the presence of emerald ash borer in the county is due to someone moving ash infested with the insect.
This is the first time the invasive insect has been found in Stearns County. In order to reduce the spread, the emergency quarantine will restrict the how firewood and ash material move out of the county.
There are now 18 Minnesota counties with a full or partial quarantine in place. The insect has been in Minnesota since 2009.