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News : Purple panel traps help detect devastating invasive insect

Purple panel traps help detect devastating invasive insect
Purdue News Service
Purple panel traps for Emerald Ash Borer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Emerald ash borer has had a devastating affect on the ash tree population of Indiana and that is why 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).


"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."

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.

To report a find, call (866) NO EXOTIC (663-9684). For more information on emerald ash borer detection surveys and symptoms of infestation, visit