Traps hung in NH ash trees to detect destructive beetle

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Purple boxes looking like box kites are being hung in New Hampshire ash trees once again as part of efforts to detect emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that had obliterated ash forests throughout the Midwest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food are joining with a natural resources company to survey for the beetle (Agrilus planipennis), a wood-boring insect that has attacked and destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states.

The metallic green beetle is native to Asia. It was first found in the Detroit area in 2002, but it’s believed to have been accidentally imported in the 1990s, perhaps in wood or packing materials from overseas.

As of 2011, the borer hadn’t been detected in New Hampshire, but it’s getting closer to the state. It has been detected south of Montreal, and as of last month, it was found east of the Hudson River in New York.

Early detection is critical in the management and control of invasive pests. The purple traps will be hung in ash trees in all 10 counties of New Hampshire.

The traps don’t lure the beetle into an area, but are used as detection tools to determine whether they’re in the surveyed areas. The sooner a pest is detected, the more options are available to manage it.

The traps are made of corrugated plastic and coated with sticky, nontoxic glue that captures all sorts of insects. The trap attracts the beetle through two lures that hang inside the prism; one smells like ash leaves and the other smells like ash bark.

The beetles are also attracted to the color of the trap.

The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and will be removed in the fall.

The traps don’t 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 271-2561 or 1-802-828-4546. 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 about emerald ash borer or the survey program, contact the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, Division of Plant Industry, at 271-2561 or

–Telegraph staff


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