Plant Pest Insider Newsletter - April 30, 2021

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A Newsletter from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

April 30, 2021

Brown Marmorated 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 it to help identify the species. 

The samurai wasp (Trissolcus japonicus) is a small species of wasp that is a biological control of BMSB that has been found to be established in several U.S. states. It attacks and parasitizes the eggs laid by BMSB on the underside of leaves by inserting its eggs inside BMSB eggs. The MDA is surveying known reproducing BMSB populations in the Twin Cities metro for the presence of samurai wasps. 

MDA staff outside setting an insect trap in a forested area

Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Blue Earth County

The MDA has confirmed emerald ash borer (EAB) in Blue Earth County. There are now 27 counties in the state with EAB.

A resident in the city of St. Clair was cutting down an ash tree and noticed insect galleries in the wood. The homeowner contacted a local Department of Natural Resources forester who notified the MDA. MDA staff were able to find live EAB larvae and collect samples for federal identification.

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EAB Active Period Begins May 1

The EAB active period begins May 1 in Minnesota. During the active period (May 1 - September 30) it is recommended to avoid removal of ash branches, trees, and stumps. 

By postponing pruning and removal until the fall, you can help reduce the spread of EAB. Trees left intact during the EAB active period, can act as a “sink” for EAB adults to lay eggs. But since the adults won’t emerge until the following year, when the material is destroyed and properly disposed of during the EAB dormant period, all stages of the insects in that material will also be destroyed.

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Invasive Pest Surveys

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the MDA's Plant Protection Division conducts multiple surveys for invasive pests throughout the state. MDA staff will begin placing insect traps and looking for diseases in parks, crop fields, community gardens, neighborhoods, and along roadsides. 

2020 Annual Reports

Results of invasive pest surveys and other programs within the Plant Protection Division can be viewed at the following links:

Forest and Landscape Pest Report (pdf) - includes emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and other plant pests

Fruit and Vegetable Pest Report (pdf) - includes pests of tomatoes, apples, and more

Field Crop Pest Report (pdf) - includes pests of corn, small grains, and soybeans

Apiary Report (pdf) - includes apiary inspection and the National Honey Bee Health Survey

Industrial Hemp Report (pdf) - includes pests, THC testing, varieties, markets, and more

Noxious Weed Program Report (pdf) - includes new county finds, grant highlights, Palmer amaranth, and more


MDA staff outside in an apple orchard looking at apple trees for diseases

Gypsy Moth Treatments

The MDA, in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners, will treat isolated gypsy moth populations throughout the state. Treatments will occur in the Twin Cities metro, the Duluth area, and in southeastern Minnesota. More information about each treatment and to sign up for text or email alerts can be found on the gypsy moth treatment webpage.

The MDA will host two virtual meetings to share information with citizens in Northeast Minnesota about the threat gypsy moths pose to the environment and how officials plan to protect the urban and natural forests.

May 5, 2021

caterpillar on a leaf

Industrial Hemp Applications Due Today

Those wanting to grow, process, breed, or research hemp in Minnesota in 2021 must apply for a license with the MDA by April 30. 

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.

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Hemp field

April Weed of the Month: Habitat Restoration

Habitat loss is one of the most important causes of species decline in the United States. More and more people are looking to restore parts of their property, or their entire property, back to a natural setting. This is great news for native plants, insects, birds, and other wildlife that rely on native habitats for survival. However, this can be an intimidating process for folks that are new to the concepts of landscape restoration and unsure about what is native and what is considered invasive or noxious.

To successfully restore habitat, one must consider a variety of issues that could impact any project before a plan is developed. For example, there may be a history of invasive plants, the soil could be contaminated, or the site has a history of misuse. It is best to understand the past and current state of the site to establish a more native habitat for the future. 

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Change to the 2021 Noxious Weed List

The MDA has made one change to the state’s 2021 Noxious Weed List. The designation of the non-native subspecies of phragmites (Phragmites australis spp. australis) has changed from Restricted to Prohibited Control. 

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View of the MDA noxious weed list website

Spring Is In The Air

Local garden centers are available to help your green thumb thrive this spring. Contact information for garden centers can be found by searching Nursery Stock Dealer Certificate holders on the MDA website. 

Looking for locally grown produce and farmer's markets? The MDA's Minnesota Grown Directory is a resource for local farmers markets, CSAs, and more. 

Minnesota Grown Directory cover page girl with flowers

Check Your Seed Labels

Seed sold for planting in the United States can be produced anywhere in the world. How do you know that the seed you are purchasing doesn’t contain invasive plants?

The seed industry takes precautions to help protect the consumer from purchasing seed that contains weeds. Seed producers minimize weeds in production fields, clean and condition seed after harvest, and test seed lots to determine the identity of contaminants in seed.

The MDA Seed Regulatory Program regulations include:

  • Weed seed (seeds that are identified as weeds in agricultural, natural, or other settings) must be included as a weed seed percentage on the seed bag’s label.
  • Prohibited noxious weed seeds are prohibited from being in a seed bag.
  • Restricted noxious weed seeds are restricted to 25 seeds per pound. The label must list them by name and state the number of seeds per pound.

How You Can Help:

  • Check your seed package label to see if weed seeds are listed so you can avoid planting species you don’t want.
  • If your seed package isn’t properly labeled, report this to the MDA.

Read More

Grass seed purity testing

Coronavirus Recommendations

The MDA has prepared many recommendations for citizens, staff, and employers in relation to growing and selling plants safely, as well as agritourism activities. All guidance documents related to the MDA can be found here.  

For more information on COVID-19 in Minnesota, please visit

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MDA Certified Heat Treated Firewood logo VOID

Minnesota Certified Firewood

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has certified ten 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 damaging pests, like emerald ash borer.

  • Emily Forest Products / Katie's Firewood
  • Minnesota Firewood LLC
  • Moonlight Firewood
  • Paul’s Fireplace Wood Inc.
  • Price Firewood
  • Pro Cut Firewood
  • Stoked Firewood
  • Sunset Firewood Company
  • TSL Firewood
  • WLC Firewood 
  • Wood Chuckers Firewood LLC

Certified Firewood Producers

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