SAUK CENTRE -- The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has placed Stearns County under quarantine after emerald ash borer was found in Sauk Centre.

The Department of Ag confirmed emerald ash borer larvae in several trees. Because this is the first time emerald ash borer has been found in Stearns County, the Department of Agriculture is limiting the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county to reduce the risk of spreading the insect.

A total of 18 Minnesota counties are now under full or partial quarantine.

Mark Abrahamson with the Department of Ag says it’s believed the destructive tree pest was brought into Stearns county by someone moving infested ash.

Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the nutrients up and down the trunk.

The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009 and is now found in 35 states.

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