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Volunteers needed to battle ash borer

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are recruiting volunteers to help protect Minnesota's forests by serving as "first detectors" for emerald ash borer.

The Ash borer is a serious insect pest that has killed 20 million ash trees in Michigan and thousands more in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. While MDA's statewide monitoring program has never found EAB in Minnesota, the insect can move to new areas in infested firewood or other ash material. If that happens, it will be important to find it and fight it quickly.

The role of a first detector is to serve as a public contact for EAB information and to help resolve reports of potential EAB infestations in Minnesota. Volunteers attend a one-day training session on EAB and must be willing to commit to being involved with the program after completing the training.

EAB First Detector training sessions have been scheduled for March 27 in Rochester, March 31 in Cloquet, April 3 in Mankato, April 7 in Andover, April 8 in Marshall and April 10 in Fergus Falls. Applications must be post-marked or emailed by March 19.

More information is available online at

Interested volunteers may also contact the "Arrest The Pest" Hotline at 651-201-6684 in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area or 888-545-6685 throughout Greater Minnesota.