Purple Traps Set out to Catch Emerald Ash Borer

May 30, 2012

by Edith Tucker
The Berlin Reporter

RANDOLPH — Town clerk Anne Kenison recently sent around word via e-mail to town residents with computers that a “Cooperative Effort to Survey for Invasive Pest” is underway and that New Hampshire will soon be “seeing purple.” Sending out information to city and town clerks is one of the several ways that the state Department of Agriculture is getting information out about this project.

Purple prism traps resembling box kites will be seen in the state’s ash trees again this year as part of the national emerald ash borer (EAB) survey, assisted by state and private agencies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the state Department of Agriculture have partnered with a natural resources company to survey for the EAB (Agrilus planipennis), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has attacked and destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states. This metallic, green beetle is native to Asia and is thought to have entered the U. S. via wood packing materials.

As of 2011, EAB has NOT been detected in the Granite State, but has been detected south of Montreal, Canada, and also in Albany County, N. Y. Scientists say that early detection is critical to managing and controlling these invasive pests.

The purple traps — survey tools – are being hung in ash trees in all 10 N. H. counties. The traps don’t lure the EAB into an area but are used as detection tools to determine if they are currently present in these areas.

The sooner EAB is detected, the more options are available to manage the pest. The traps are made of corrugated plastic and coated with very sticky, non-toxic glue designed to capture all sorts of insects.

The trap attracts EAB through two different lures that hang inside the prism: one smells like ash leaves; the other,like ash bark. EABs are also attracted to the trap’s purple color. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and removed in the fall.

The purple traps do not pose a threat to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the glue is extremely sticky. If you find a fallen trap, record the trap number from the tag and call 802-828-4546. After regular business hours, leave your name and number along with the trap number, and someone will return your call the next business day.

For more information, contact the N.H. Department of Agriculture.


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