Plant Pest Insider Newsletter - March 20, 2020

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A Newsletter from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

March 20, 2020

Report Sightings of Stink Bugs in Homes

As the weather warms up, insects that have been in your home to survive the Minnesota winter will begin to emerge and make their way outside. Box elder bugs, multi-colored Asian lady beetles, and brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) can be found indoors in early spring. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has received reports of BMSB adults in residential homes and would appreciate any reports be sent to Arrest the Pest

When reporting BMSB to the MDA, please try to capture the insect and take a picture of the it to help identify the species. 

MDA BMSB website 

National BMSB website

brown marmorated stink bug adult beetle

A brown marmorated stink bug adult beetle on a plant.

Emerald ash borer larval feeding gallery in ash tree

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Rice County

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed emerald ash borer (EAB) in Rice County in southern Minnesota. This is the 22nd county in the state with EAB.

A Faribault Public Works Department employee contacted the MDA after they noticed an ash tree with EAB symptoms on private property in the city of Faribault. MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect a sample for federal identification.

“The Faribault city employee was able to identify the signs of EAB thanks to an MDA workshop he attended earlier this month,” said Mark Abrahamson, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division. “That’s why knowledge of the signs and symptoms of this insect is so important in limiting its spread.

Because this is the first time EAB has been identified in Rice County, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be enacting the emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. This will reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.

Full Press Release

MDA's EAB Information

A residential house and front yard

Pesticide Stewardship Guidelines and Best Management Practices

The MDA's Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division has a wide variety of resources for pesticide application to protect water quality and pollinators. 

Read More

March Weed of the Month

How Did That Weed Get Here? Lessons from Palmer amaranth

There are many pathways that weed seed, including Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), can move. Palmer amaranth was first documented in Minnesota in 2016. Since then, small infestations have been documented in the state along with identified pathways.

Read More

Palmer amaranth plant in a soybean field

A Palmer amaranth plant found in a soybean field in Redwood County in 2018. 

Checklist for Hiring a Tree Care Company

Here are recommendations from the MDA when choosing a tree care company to perform work on your property. 

  • Check the Tree Care Registry
    • All tree care and tree trimming companies doing business in Minnesota are required to register with the MDA.
  • Look to see if the company has a Pesticide License, if applicable. 
    • Any company applying restricted use pesticides must have a pesticide applicator license. This includes treating ash trees for emerald ash borer. 
  • Make sure the company has a local license to operate within your community.
  • The company should provide a Sales Tax ID number.
  • The company should provide proof of workers compensation (not required for sole proprietorship businesses). 

Read More

Hemp field

Industrial Hemp Applications Due March 31

Those wanting to grow or process hemp in Minnesota in 2020 must apply for a license with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) by March 31.

This is the fifth year of the state’s Industrial Hemp Program. Last year, 550 people held licenses to grow or process hemp. Over 7,300 acres and 400,000 indoor square feet were planted in Minnesota.

“We believe in the potential of the developing industry,” said Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Whitney Place. “We want to ensure that everyone who would like to grow and process hemp in Minnesota is able to do so. They simply need to apply by March 31.”

The online application for growers and processors can be found on the MDA website at Along with the online form, first-time applicants need to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

The 2018 Federal Farm Bill legalized hemp as an agricultural commodity. Last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an interim final rule that outlined state and tribal plans for growing the crop. Minnesota is continuing under the existing pilot program in 2020.

Questions about the MDA’s Hemp Program should be sent to or 651-201-6600.

Minnesota Certified Firewood

Certified Firewood Logo

The MDA has certified nine firewood producers in the state of Minnesota for heat treatment of firewood. Look for the logo when purchasing firewood. It means the firewood is safe to move and is free of emerald ash borer.

Certified firewood producers:

  • Emily Forest Products
  • JN Firewood  
  • Minnesota Firewood LLC
  • Paul's Fireplace Wood Inc.
  • Price Firewood
  • Sunset Firewood Company
  • TSL Firewood
  • Wood Chuckers Firewood LLC
  • Leroy Habiger "The Firewood Man"
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