Purple panel traps are back

Thursday, April 16, 2009
These purple panel traps are being used to detect the presence of the destructive emerald ash borer across the state. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is placing the traps around the state.

The Emerald ash borer has had a devastating effect on the ash tree population of Indiana state and federal agencies are once again using purple panel traps as part of a detection survey throughout the state.

The traps, which are bright purple and resemble box kites, are baited with manuka and phoebe oils and lined with glue, which attract and trap nearby emerald ash borers (EAB).

So far, the insect has not been found in Putnam County. It is present in Marion, Monroe and Hamilton and in several areas in northern Indiana.

"The EAB population has been increasing in Indiana," said Jodie Ellis, Purdue University entomologist. "As that happens, the purple panel trap program becomes even more vital because it helps us locate infestations and quarantine infested areas appropriately."

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service sponsor the survey program, which will include 3,125 traps, the highest concentration of which will be placed in high-risk areas near the Ohio River in the southern part of the state.

"These traps ultimately help us protect non-infested areas of our state and the states that surround us," Ellis said. "Once we know where the insect is located, we can help residents understand how to protect valuable trees, choose replacement trees and inform them of ways to slow EAB's spread."

In high-risk areas, the state survey also will include the use of 225 trap trees, which are ash trees that have been wounded to attract emerald ash borers already in the area.

"Another important survey tool, especially at this time of the year, is visual observation and reporting by area residents," said Phil Marshall, state entomologist with IDNR.

"It is especially important to report trees with heavy woodpecker activity. Woodpeckers knock off the bark in search of EAB larvae, which they eat," adds Marshall.

Woodpeckers tend to attack high in the tree, where they knock off bark ridges, giving the bark a mauve color.

Residents also can look for other signs of emerald ash borer, such as small D-shaped exit holes in an ash tree's bark, die-back of the tree's leaves or water shoots sprouting around the bottom of the tree trunk.

Moving firewood can spread the insect to new areas. All of Indiana is under a federal quarantine that restricts the movement of all hardwood firewood into any other state. Violation of the quarantine can result in fines totaling thousands of dollars.

"On its own, the emerald ash borer only spreads about a half mile annually, but sadly, infestations have occurred in many new places because unsuspecting people have accidentally moved it in their firewood," said Ellis.

Following state and federal quarantines when purchasing firewood can help slow the spread. In 20 Indiana counties, it is illegal to move all kinds of hardwood firewood outside the county without a compliance agreement from the Department of Natural Resources.

"The best thing to do is buy all firewood, whether it's for camping or heating your home, near the place where you'll burn it," Ellis said. "Avoid stockpiling firewood beyond one season's needs, if possible. It's best to burn all firewood before spring, and make sure you are educated on firewood regulations."

To report a find, call (866) NO EXOTIC (663-9684). For more information on emerald ash borer detection surveys and symptoms of infestation, visit http://www.entm.purdue.edu/eab

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