The 2011 survey program to locate the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer has begun.
The Emerald Ash Borer, an Asian insect, was first found in the United States in 2000, making its way to Kentucky by 2009.
In the larval stages of development, the borer burrows deep underneath the bark of the ash tree, cutting off the circulation of nutrients throughout the tree’s system, ultimately leading to the trees demise.
According to Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist with the U.K. College of Agriculture, 6,500 purple prisms were hung throughout Kentucky in early April to detect where the borer is active. The traps are hung in places where the borer has not yet been found.
The purple prisms attract the Emerald Ash Borer through color and odor. The traps are laced with a chemical produced by an Ash tree to insure the best results of attracting the insect.
Lee explained that the Emerald Ash Borer’s most common mode of travel is through firewood. Dead trees are often used as firewood and the Emerald Ash Borer causes some of these deaths, so as the wood is transported to other locations, infestations can occur. The purple prisms are more common on areas close to highways and roads because that is the route in which firewood is transported.
According to a USDA Forest Service list on the U.K. College of Agriculture’s website, LaRue County has 189,941 ash trees ranking at 114 out of 120 counties in Kentucky, with no sign of the borer’s presence as of yet.
Lee said that it would be August before the traps come down, and October before information will be released regarding the 2011 trapping season.
According to the U.K. College of Agriculture website, 20 Kentucky counties where the Ash Borer’s presence has been located have been quarantined. Regulations restricting certain articles from being moved outside the counties have been put in place to reduce the spread of the infestation.
The counties are “Boone, Bourbon, Campbell, Carroll, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, Greenup, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Scott, Shelby, Trimble and Woodford. The quarantined area includes the seven counties where the emerald ash borer has been identified – Campbell, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton and Shelby – plus counties close to an infestation site and counties with a high density of ash trees.”
To protect from infestations, the U.K. College of Agriculture urges residents to purchase firewood locally.