EAST CHARLESTON, WV -- The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is taking fresh aim at learning more about the spread of the pesky emerald ash borer.
"This year, we plan to put out 915 traps, 15 in each uninfested West Virginia county and 30 in the six counties known to have emerald ash borers (EAB)," said Buddy Davidson, communications director of the WVDA. "The traps will be in the forest until mid-to-late August, and the results will be used to determine the geographical range of the insects, not really the number of them in the state. Similarly, the traps are not meant to eradicate EAB in West Virginia, but to detect their presence in particular areas."
The 3-foot-tall prism traps are made of corrugated plastic and resemble a three-sided box kite and hung in trees with long poles. The purple traps are coated with an adhesive that captures insects when they land. The color is thought to be attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for humans to spot among the foliage.
The goal of this yearâs trapping program is to locate new infestations within the state for possible biological control agent releases.
The emerald ash borer is blamed for killing tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada. The EAB was first detected in West Virginia at a campground in Fayette County in October 2007. It has since been discovered in the West Virginia counties of Morgan, Roane, Calhoun, Nicholas and Raleigh.
âWe strongly suspect that EAB entered the state on firewood brought by campers,â said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus Douglass. âOther pests can also be artificially transported by individuals moving firewood, so we are urging all visitors to buy their firewood near where they camp and not transport it from one area to another. If they do bring firewood with them it should all be burned before they leave for home.â
"West Virgnia does not have a large percentage of ash in its forests, so EAB has not had as large an impact here as it has in other states," Davidson said. "However, there is a host of pests which can cause extensive damage to our very valuable hardwood industry here.
"We run similar survey programs on other pests as well," Davidson added. "If pests reach certain levels of destructiveness and there are practical ways to do so, treatment programs sometimes are initiated. For example, we operate two fairly extensive gypsy moth treatment programs here in West Virginia,- one uses aerial spraying to kill adult moths; the other uses pheromone flakes to disrupt mating.
The entire state of West Virginia is under a Federal EAB Quarantine. This means that no firewood (except from evergreen trees), ash logs, ash seedlings, ash bark and other regulated articles can be moved outside the state without federal certification.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.