Summer is almost here, and after the discovery last year of emerald ash borers at the Greenville Recreational Area, almost 1000 Barney purple insect traps will be deployed in the woods.
Barney purple? Seems the brilliant metallic blue green beetles have a thing for the color. Maybe they think it goes with their exoskeletons. Who knows? The traps are triangular in cross-section, and 1 by 2.5 feet in size. They may blend with the redbuds right now, but shortly they will stick out against the green Ozark canopy.
These will be set out in an 8 mile radius of the Recreational Area. Another 250-300 will be scattered across the state, according to the Dept. of Conservation. Scientists now believe the infestation occurred five years ago; backtracking studies show that the infestation has spread about 1.5 miles from it’s original source. Since most of the life of the borer is beneath the bark, it’s hard to determine they exist until ashes begin dying and the distinctive adults appear. To make the traps more effective, they are coated with a chemical that smells like stressed ash trees. The borers land, and a trapped, since they are not strong fliers.
MDC, DNR, U of Missouri, the Army Corps and APHIS, the USDA plant and animal inspection agency, have declared war on this pest. Wayne County wood product companies are under special regulation to prevent its spread.
Outdoors people are being asked NOT to bring firewood along, or take firewood home with them, especially if they aren’t certain what type of wood it is, or where it has been. Ashborers are picky eaters — they target ash almost exclusively, but few of the general public can correctly identify wood from a cut log or stick. (Trap photo from www.ca.uky.edu)