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Purple traps set for emerald insects

If the bright purple boxes hanging from trees around the area have caught your eye, you’re not alone.
The purple contraptions have been placed throughout the state to identify and catch the emerald ash borer beetle, a bright green insect visible only in the summer. The purple hue of the 24-inch boxes help attract the destructive little creatures that are killing American Ash trees throughout the Midwest, including more than eight million trees in Michigan alone.
‘We’re trying to find out where the bug is and where it isn’t,’ said Mike Coggeshall of Corydon, a district forester.
Originating from China, the beetle made its way to Detroit in 2002 probably on wood-packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes, and was first detected in Indiana two years later. As of late May, the insect had not been detected south of Indianapolis, according to Coggeshall. It has been confirmed in five other states: Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Any township, county or state infected with the beetle is quarantined, meaning no ash products can be shipped out of the area. Plain Township, near Warsaw, was quarantined last week after the traps confirmed the existence of the beetle.
‘This is exactly why Indiana participates in the EAB trapping program,’ said Purdue University entomologist Jodie Ellis. ‘Now we know for sure that emerald ash borer is there, and we can begin efforts to keep it from spreading beyond Kosciusko County.’
Kosciusko County is the 18th county in Indiana’s northeastern corner to have confirmed infestation.
The traps were placed in areas not already known to be infested with the beetles, some 7,200 survey points across the state, according to the Purdue University Extension Web site. Infected ash trees have D-shaped exit holes in the main trunk of the tree. Other signs include vertical splits in the bark and increased woodpecker activity.
The beetles can’t travel far on their own, only about a half mile per year. But, when transported with ash wood used as fire wood, they can be taken all over the region.
Campers should not bring their own firewood into a park because it could be infested, said Dwayne Sieg, property manager of the Harrison-Crawford State Forest. Instead, campers should use on-site firewood, he said.
The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service placed the traps on public and private property. The traps are baited with manuka oil and glue. The oil, harvested from native tea trees in New Zealand, attracts the beetles. The oil is not harmful to humans or pets but is extremely sticky to touch. Trap surveyors ask the public not to disturb the traps.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture funded the study. The traps will be removed for examination in September.