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NEWS

Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Trap Surveys

March 27, 2015

Baton Rouge, La. (March 27, 2015)  – Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the USDA and LDAF are once again conducting trap surveys across Louisiana following detection of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Webster Parish.

The EAB is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees. Louisiana’s native ash trees are primarily located along the Atchafalaya Basin and the Mississippi River Delta. However, there are ash trees in urban areas, as well.

“Over the summer, approximately 300 traps will be placed along high risk areas such as along the interstate, welcome center areas and the Mississippi River Delta. Please do not remove these traps if you come across one,” said Strain.

The traps are large, purple sticky boxes that hang from trees in areas that are being monitored for EAB.

The EAB beetle is a pest to all types of ash trees but does not attack other hardwoods or pines. Ash is one of the predominant trees planted in the Conservation Reserve Program and it is also a tree that is common in urban areas and has aesthetic appeal. “When the trees start dying, it could be costly for residents or city officials to have them removed,” added Strain.

The beetle is often transported into an area by infested firewood, but it is not known how the EAB entered Louisiana. Officials say the best way to prevent the spread of EAB is to not move firewood.

EAB is a native insect of Asia. In 2002, EAB was discovered in Michigan and is now present in 25 states, including Louisiana. EAB is a federally-regulated pest.  States survey for EAB and if it is found, quarantine boundaries are established by the state.

The LDAF began drafting an EAB response plan in the fall of 2014 in preparation for the anticipated arrival of EAB in Louisiana. The plan includes survey, outreach and regulatory oversight components and involves multiple federal and state agencies including U.S. Forest Service (USFS), USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-PPQ), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the LSU AgCenter. Also involved are the Louisiana Forestry Association and the Urban Forestry Council.

LDAF and USDA-PPQ use traps baited with lure scents which are attractive to the beetles. Survey results will help determine the extent of the beetle presence in the state and the potential regulatory actions necessary to reduce the spread of the pest.  At this time, there is no EAB quarantine in place.  When a quarantine becomes established, then regulated products that include ash nursery stock, ash logs, lumber and pallets and all hardwood firewood would not be able to move outside of the quarantined area unless treated according to federal protocols.

Last October, the LDAF started a “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign which is geared toward educating people about the risks of transporting pests to other locations where some can do harm. It is best to purchase firewood not more than 10 miles from where it will be burned.  When traveling, burn firewood where you purchased it and make sure to burn all of it.

For more information about emerald ash borer or firewood movement, visit: www.emeraldashborer.info  or www.dontmovefirewood.org .