Missouri Emerald Ash Borer Program | Don't spread pests. Burn firewood where you get it!


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Survey program

Missouri’s EAB survey efforts have been carried out cooperatively by a multi-agency task force that includes: Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Missouri Department of Natural Resource (DNR), University of Missouri Extension, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA APHIS, PPQ) division.

Since 2004, MDA has been conducting visual surveys for EAB at high-risk sites throughout state. Visual surveys consist of searching for distressed ash trees showing one or more EAB symptoms. Beginning in 2008, purple prism detection traps were added to the survey techniques utilized. These purple traps the latest tool to assist with EAB detection.

The three-sided traps are approximately 2-feet tall and 1 ½-foot wide. The purple traps are placed in ash trees by hooks, out of the reach of pedestrians or passers-by. Each trap is coated with a sticky substance that will ensnare the adult beetle. A manuka/phoebe oil lure will also be hung within each trap, to help draw nearby beetles to the tree.

Purple traps help locate emerald ash borer beetles by Missouri AgricultureRobert Phillips, a Missouri Department of Agriculture plant protection specialist based in Jackson, prepares to lift an emerald ash borer detection trap into a tree at the Greenville Campground near Lake Wappapello. More than 800 of the purple traps have been placed in the area and another 800 are scheduled to be in use this spring. The traps help to determine the range of the emerald ash borer beetle, an invasive pest that threatens to wipe out ash trees in North American. 

The lure is similar to the chemical compounds ash trees release when they are stressed. The combination appears to be appealing to the emerald ash borer. The traps are purple because in scientific studies, beetles were attracted to the color purple.

The traps are deployed from south to north Missouri by survey workers before the area reaches 450 degree days (mid-late April in the south), the point at which adult beetle emergence begins. The traps are taken down, examined and re-baited after approximately 60 days and then are removed after the area reaches 1,500 degree days (mid- to late July). Each trap is then examined for EAB and any suspect beetles are removed and identified. If any new sites are located, additional trapping will be done to determine the extent of the new infestation and treatments to mitigate the threat will be carried out.

Occasionally high winds or other weather events cause the traps to fall. If you notice a fallen or dislodged trap, please notify the Missouri Department of Agriculture at 866-322-4512.

This purple trap survey for EAB is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the USDA to find and track infestations of the pest. Nearly 67,000 traps will be put up across 49 states.