Monday, May 30, 2011

The Purple Box

On my ride home I noticed a purple box in a tree.

That box was not in that tree at 6 am when I drove out of the village.

I wondered what the heck it was and why it was purple.

That night as I checked my email I recieved this:

"Dear Colleagues,

We are already starting to get inquires about the purple traps in ash trees around the state. As you may know, the traps are designed to detect the presence of emerald ash borer, an invasive forest pest threatening Vermont’s forests. Due to a recent find in New York State, the Agency of Agriculture and a private contractor will be trapping for the pest statewide this summer- so if you have not seen them in the past, chance are you will come across a purple trap this summer!
Please help us get the word out- share the following press release with your e-mail listservs, include it in your blog, add it to your newsletter, or tweet about any traps you come across out in the field!  Thank you. "

Here is some other interesting information about this project and this bad bug:

Montpelier, VT – Purple, three-sided traps resembling a box kite can be seen in ash trees throughout Vermont as part of a surveillance program by federal and state agencies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture are partnering to survey for emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada. The Monteregie region of Quebec Canada is the closest EAB infestation to Vermont’s northern border. To date, EAB has not been detected in Vermont.

These traps will be placed in ash trees in all counties and at high risk sites, such as campgrounds, sawmills, recreational areas, major transportation arteries, etc.
The purple traps are coated with an adhesive that captures the insects when they land and are baited with a lure to attract the pest if it is present. In addition, the color is thought to be attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for humans to spot among the foliage.

“The traps being placed around Vermont will help us discover if we have EAB in Vermont early on which allows us to address this invasive pest immediately,” said Jon Turmel Vermont State Entomologist. “Early detection is the best tool we have to fight EAB. The ash tree is a very important natural resource in our state and we want to do everything we can to protect our trees.”

“The triangular purple traps do not pose a risk to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the non-toxic glue can be extremely sticky,” said USDA State Plant Health Director, Mark Michaelis. “We want people to understand that the traps don’t attract or pull beetles into an area, but rather they are a detection tool to help find EAB if it is present in the area.”

These traps will be monitored and remain in place throughout the summer during the beetles’ flight season. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and removed in the fall. Results from the trapping will be available once the traps are removed.

If you see a purple trap on the ground, please call the USDA’s toll-free num­ber: 1-866-322-4512. The EAB hotline is staffed during regular business hours and a message may be left at any time. Callers are asked to include a name and telephone number.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera:Buprestidae) is an invasive species wood boring beetle, native to China and eastern Asia, which targets ash trees. EAB probably arrived in North America hidden in wood packing materials commonly used to ship consumer and other goods. It was first detected in July 2002 in southeastern Michigan.

EAB attacks only ash trees (Fraxinus spp.), and all the ash species—including green, white, black, and blue—are at risk. EAB kills stressed and healthy trees and is so aggressive that ash trees may die within two or three years after they become infested. EAB larvae tunnel under the bark to feed in the phloem and outer sapwood producing galleries that eventually kill the tree. For additional information on EAB, visit

So now you know more about the emerald ash borer than you ever thought possible.

If you have friends or relatives living in Vermont, please spread the news.

We love our trees here and we hate bugs that harm them.


  1. We have ash trees here in The Garden Spot and need to keep an eye on them for bores, but I don't know the kind. I will do more research. Thanks for you information.

  2. Good thing something is being done to stop these harmful bores. I saw this issue on an episode of "Across the Fence" not too long ago. Hopefully the purple traps will help.