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Preventing EAB from becoming a local issue

If you're driving down Ninth Street you will see that some of the ash boulevard trees are tagged with yellow ribbons wrapped around informational flyers about the Emerald ash borer (EAB) now found in 19 states, including neighboring Minnesota.

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. Native to Asia, it was first detected in the U.S. in 2002 near Detroit. EAB is now found in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. The nearest known infestation to North Dakota is in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area.

There are no reports of any making it to our state yet and that is how everyone involved with EAB control wants to keep it an infestation would be devastating to the ash tree population.

Consequently, the flyers are part of a statewide campaign being initiated in several North Dakota communities by the North Dakota Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Extension Services to urge citizens to help prevent EAB from entering our state.

The insect spreads slowly on its own, but can be moved long distances in firewood and nursery stock. Residents are encouraged to purchase their firewood from local sources and not to bring any firewood in from outside the state.

Part of the campaign also involves testing for the potential of the EAB in our communities.

On that note, purple colored traps baited with a lure attractive to Emerald ash borers are situated around West Fargo and other communities statewide that will be monitored during hte adult flight period which runs through July.

If you see any of these traps hanging in any of the city's ash trees you are asked to leave them undisturbed so the monitoring can be accurate.

City Forester Yvette Gehrke said the traps have been placed at vantage points throughout the city. She also said that trees showing any sign of distress are being check by staff as a precautionary measure to rule out any signs of EAB which she reiterates do not have a recorded presence in the state.

She said a goal of the flyers on ash trees to make residents more aware of the issue so they are on the lookout to report any warning signs. Any kind of activities that looks suspicious at all on any of your ash trees should be reported.

The next educational endeavor regarding EAB will be at the annual Night to Unit event that will be held the first Tuesday in August. Forestry staff will have an informational booth focusing on the EAB topic.

In the meantime, anyone with questions about EAB or any tree-related issue you might haves is encouraged to contact Gehrke at 701-433-5400.