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Beetle wasn't an emerald ash borer

Tree lovers can breathe a little easier.

The beetle brought to the Public Works and Parks Department office in City Hall on Monday isn't an emerald ash borer.

The bug has been identified as a bark-gnawing beetle, according to Debbie Andrews, administrative assistant for the department.

Andrews said the identification was made by Ken Holman, a Hudson resident and head of the Urban Forestry Program for the state of Minnesota.

"There's a lot of look-alikes out there," Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli said last week.

Zeuli said a spokesperson for St. Croix Tree Service, the Roberts company that does a lot of the tree-removal work in Hudson, told him that the company's workers haven't found an ash borer or telltale signs of the beetle in Hudson yet.

City resident Tony Bol brought the look-alike beetle to City Hall.

Bol told the Star-Observer he didn't want to be an alarmist, but that he and his wife had seen green beetles outside their Fourth Street residence.

The home is shaded by a couple of large green ash trees growing in the street boulevard.

"If I'm bringing in the wrong beetle, it will definitely get identified and people will know there are plenty of beetles to be confused with," Bol said shortly after taking the beetle to City Hall on Monday, June 15.

Bol is hopeful that an early sighting of an ash borer, should the beetle make its way to Hudson, can prevent the devastation to ash trees that occurred in Michigan, where the invader from Asia was first discovered in 2002.

"I would expect it will be here," Zeuli said when asked about the chances of the beetle reaching Hudson.

"It's within 20 miles of us now," he said, referring to the discovery of the beetle in St. Paul a month ago.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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