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N.D. (AP) – North Dakota officials are trying to raise awareness of the emerald ash borer and prevent its spread into the state, which has about 78 million ash trees.

The beetles have killed millions of ash trees in several states including Minnesota. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the pest is now widespread in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and given the traffic on Interstate 94 between North Dakota and the Twin Cities it will be difficult to keep the bug out of North Dakota.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed next week as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. Foresters in 30 cities and state parks will be tying ribbons along with informational fliers to publicly owned ash trees.

Local, state and federal officials also will be placing about 350 insect traps around North Dakota to detect the first beetles once they at spotted in the state. So far, there have been no reports of the emerald ash borer in North Dakota.

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