On two consecutive days, the emerald ash borer was found in Blaine and Coon Rapids for the first time.
Coon Rapids City Forester Tom Schibilla was trimming trees in preparation for a city street reconstruction project just south of Bunker Hills Regional Park in the 500 block of 127th Lane when he found an infected tree on Feb. 26.
The next day, the first known Blaine tree infected by the insect was discovered on a residential property near Carrarra East Park, according to Blaine City Forester Marc Shippee.
Neither are surprised and said there could be other infected ash trees.
“We’ve suspected it’s been in Blaine for probably quite some time. We’ve just never found it,” Shippee said. “We do actively investigate trees that seem suspicious, but this was the first time we’ve actually found it.”
The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle from Asia present in 29 states and was first found in Minnesota in May 2009 in St. Paul, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.