Trapping Gets Underway for Tree Pest Across Tennessee
- Purple Beetle Traps Going Up in Ash Trees -
NASHVILLE – Purple three-sided insect traps that resemble a box kite can be seen in ash trees from Mountain City to Memphis in the next few months as part of an expanded surveillance program by state and federal agencies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) are partnering to survey for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada.
“Trapping is a very important tool for us to know how extensive the infestation is and whether additional control measures are needed to slow it from spreading to new areas,” TDA Plant Certification administrator Gray Haun said. “This year, we are extending our trapping efforts across the state as a part of a national survey program.”
The goal of the expanded trapping program is to provide a more complete national assessment and to locate new infestations for possible treatment and quarantine. Nearly 3,500 traps will be placed in trees across Tennessee by state and federal officials and private contractors.
The purple traps are coated with an adhesive that captures insects when they land. The color is attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for people to spot among the foliage.
“The triangular purple traps pose no risk to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the non-toxic glue can be extremely sticky,” said USDA State Plant Health Director, Yvonne Demarino. “It’s important people understand that the traps don’t attract or pull beetles into an area, but rather they are a detection tool to help find EAB if it is present in the area.”
EAB was first discovered in Tennessee in 2010 at a truck stop along I-40 in Knox County. In addition to Knox, five other counties in East Tennessee including Blount, Claiborne, Grainger, Loudon and Sevier are under state and federal quarantines. This means that no hardwood firewood, ash logs, ash seedlings, ash bark and other restricted materials can be moved outside these counties without approval.
State plant health officials suspect that EAB entered the state on firewood or ash wood materials brought in from another state where infestations have occurred. Other pests can also be artificially transported by individuals moving firewood. Citizens and visitors are urged to buy their firewood near where they camp and not transport it from one area to another.
At times, traps can be blown out of the trees. To report a trap that is down, contact the national EAB hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or visit www.purpleEABsurvey.info. For more information about EAB in Tennessee, contact TDA at 1-800-628-2631 or visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/regulatory/eab.html. An EAB fact sheet can also be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2012/EAB_survey_faq.pdf.