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Those who live or travel in Kentucky this summer probably will see purple prisms hanging at least 10 feet above the ground in ash trees. The prisms are traps for the emerald ash borer, a destructive insect that was found in Kentucky during the summer of 2009.
The emerald ash borer is a small, dark green metallic beetle that attacks all species of ash trees. Adult borers feed on a tree’s leaves during May and June. The larvae burrow into the tree to feed under the bark from July through October, destroying the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. This can cause loss of the entire canopy and ultimately kill the tree within a year or two.
The traps are part of an emerald ash borer survey, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist is overseeing the installation of the traps.
Traps will remain in place through the borer’s flight, which ends in August, and collected for examination. Traps will not cause any harm to humans, animals or trees.
If an emerald ash borer infestation is suspected, contact the USDA-APHIS Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 866-322-4512 or the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist at 859-257-5838.