Published July 02, 2010, 11:10 AM

Purple traps are the newest weapon in ash borer fight

Last summer over 8,000 purple detection traps were put out across the state to detect the presence of the emerald ash borer – an invasive wood boring beetle that feeds on the tissues under the bark of ash trees – before it could cause any damage to the state’s ash tree population.

By: By Jordan Willi, Hudson Star-Observer

Last summer over 8,000 purple detection traps were put out across the state to detect the presence of the emerald ash borer – an invasive wood boring beetle that feeds on the tissues under the bark of ash trees – before it could cause any damage to the state’s ash tree population.

This summer the number of traps has risen to 9,000.

The purple detection traps are three feet tall by one foot wide in the shape of a triangle.

According to www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov, the traps receive a coating of a chemical agent that mimics the scent of a stressed ash tree, which attracts the beetles as they search for weak trees. A sticky substance on the traps snares the insects when they land.

“There have been over 25 million ash trees lost so far,” said Tom Zeuli, Hudson’s director of Public Works and Parks. “They have been found in a bunch of states, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota and a few of the Canadian provinces.”

The traps are part of the Emerald Ash Borer Survey Program, which is, according to the website, “an ongoing effort to monitor for the presence of the emerald ash borer in Wisconsin.” Crews with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection are the ones who are putting up the traps all over the state.

The traps are only for detecting the insects not preventing or killing them.

The city has taken a rough survey of the ash trees on the city streets and in the parks and found about 13,000 trees in the area Zeuli said.

“We will be removing low quality ash trees that are partially dead or leaning over,” Zeuli said. “Up to 50 trees could be taken down, but we are also going to treat 40 to 50 trees using chemicals to treat for diseases and bugs.”

Along with the city’s efforts to prevent emerald ash borers, Zeuli said they are looking to make Hudson a Tree City.

“Our goal is to attain Tree City status for the city of Hudson, Wisconsin,” Zeuli said. “The city has authorized me to go ahead with our forestry plans for the 2010 Urban Forestry Program.”

The Tree City USA program recognizes communities that manage their public tree resource and to encourage the implementation of community management based on four Tree City standards, Zeuli said.

The four standards are maintaining a tree board or department (Standard 1), having a community tree ordinance (Standard 2), making a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least two dollars per capita (Standard 3), and having an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation (Standard 4).

The Common Council approved the first two standards on June 7; Standard 3 is included in the operating budget for 2010, and Standard 4 was completed with an Arbor Day celebration earlier this year, Zeuli said.

“We are working to establish reforestation in the city and parks,” Zeuli said. “As part of the Urban Forestry grant the city is going to remove the invasive plants and vegetation along the Lakefront Park walk path and then plant trees native to Wisconsin in their place.”

Brochures on emerald ash borers are available in the public works office, Zeuli said.

More information about emerald ash borers can also be found by going to www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov, or calling the Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-800-462-2803.

Tags: