The Illinois Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), will use purple traps in Illinois to look for emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive pest that is deadly to ash trees. The beetle is small and stealth-like in its behavior patterns and is extremely difficult to detect. If not controlled, it threatens to devastate all of the ash species in North America.-
The box-kite-looking purple traps will be hung in trees primarily in a 100-mile band on the outskirts of the last known southernmost infested site in Peru, Illinois. The area essentially is a 100-mile wide arc that includes 49 counties across central and northwestern Illinois, where about 2,700 of these traps will be placed. An additional 750 traps will be placed in the Chicagoland area and another 250 in southern Illinois at various high-risk sites, such as tree nurseries and campgrounds.
“It is important to note that these traps will not bring EAB to a noninfested site. They will simply let us know if the beetle is already there,” Warren Goetsch, chief of the department’s Bureau of Environmental Programs, said. Department officials are asking for the public’s cooperation in ensuring that these traps are left alone to “do their thing.”
“We realize these traps may be an eyesore to some and a source of entertainment to others, but for these traps to work, they must be left alone,” Goetsch said. “It’s important that the public is aware of their purpose and helps us keep them in place.” (Phil Nixon, adapted from Illinois Department of Agriculture news release)