SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is placing purple traps in trees to help detect the emerald ash borer (EAB). EAB is an invasive, emerald-green beetle that has devastated tens of thousands of ash trees in Illinois since it was first discovered in the state in 2006.
The traps primarily are concentrated in a 50-mile buffer zone that runs along the state’s western border from northern to central Illinois and then cuts a swath across the south-central part of the state to the Indiana border in southeast Illinois.
“We will not be able to completely eradicate EAB,” Warren Goetsch, chief of the department’s Bureau of Environmental Programs, said. “Outreach and education is critical to have any chance at slowing the advancement of this invasive beetle.”
The placement of the purple traps is part of this effort and the department asks they be left alone and not disturbed. Approximately 5,000 are being placed in areas outside an existing EAB quarantine zone. The box kite-looking devices are being hung before the emergence of the beetle during its flight season, which is from May through August. The traps will be removed after flight season is complete and examined for the presence of EAB.
Twenty-one Illinois counties currently are under EAB quarantine. The quarantine prohibits the removal of ash trees in any form, as well as non-coniferous fire wood and other potentially-infested wood products, to try to slow the spread of the beetle. (For a complete list of quarantine restrictions, go to www.illinoiseab.com )
“People living within the quarantine zone should know that EAB is imminent in their area and begin managing their ash population now,” Goetsch concluded.
How the emerald ash borer arrived in Illinois is unknown, but the department suspects it may have been transported here in contaminated firewood. To avoid the accidental introduction of the beetle to new areas, the department encourages Illinoisans to purchase only locally-grown nursery stock and locally-cut firewood. Anyone who suspects a tree has been infested is urged to contact the department or their village forester for a consultation.
The emerald ash borer is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Citizens should watch for metallic-green beetles about half the diameter of a penny on or near ash trees that are showing signs of disease or stress. Other signs of infestation in ash trees include D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and shoots growing from its base. Anyone who suspects a tree has been infested is urged to contact their county Extension office.