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Published June 24, 2010, 01:07 PM

Traps set for emerald ash borer

It’s hunting season. But rather than camouflage colors, traps for this season are bright purple.

By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News

It’s hunting season. But rather than camouflage colors, traps for this season are bright purple.

About 9,000 detection traps have been hung in ash trees statewide to find emerald ash borers. More than 300 are in St. Croix County.

The number of traps in St. Croix County has increased dramatically over the past three years, due to detections of EAB in the Twin Cities, Vernon and Crawford counties and points near the Mississippi River, according to Jennifer Statz, of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the agency responsible for the trapping efforts.

This year, 336 traps have been hung in the county, about every 1 1/2 square miles, Statz said. Last year, there were 17 traps in the entire county. The year before only 13 were used.

The traps use a chemical lure that mimics the scent of stressed ash trees, attracting beetles as they search for weak trees, according to Unlike Japanese beetle or gypsy moth traps, the EAB trap will not draw additional beetles to the area where it’s hung, the website states.

The traps are designed to target close-by adult EAB. An adult beetle will be attracted to a trap hung on a tree it has infested, but not a tree miles away, Statz explained. A sticky substance on the 3-by-1 foot traps will firmly hold the adult beetles.

Traps are used for detection purposes only, not decimating the EAB population, Statz said.

DATCP employees will check the traps once or twice this summer, and they’ll be removed by DATCP staff in late August or early September, Statz said.

About EAB

EAB are an exotic beetle first found in the United States in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. Last summer it was discovered in the Twin Cities and La Crosse areas, and has already torn through parts of southeastern Wisconsin. As of early June, EAB has been found in 15 states and Canadian provinces.

The beetle is about 1/4-1/2 inches long as an adult. Color varies, but adults are usually bronze or golden green with emerald colored wings.

When a borer gets ahold of an ash tree, it feeds on the tissues under the bark and kills it. According to research by Michigan State University and the U.S. Forest Service, EAB is 100 percent fatal to all native ash trees of any size, age or health.

EAB is not a threat to human health but it does threaten forests and urban tree populations, according to