February 24, 2018
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State needs public involvement to control Emerald Ash Borer

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AUGUSTA, Maine — State officials expressed concern even as they took steps to implement a comprehensive, statewide survey effort and enlist public support in helping locate the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect that destroys ash trees. This year’s survey has taken on greater urgency because the elusive insect has been detected in neighboring New Hampshire, a mere 32 miles from the Maine border.

“We must do everything we can to stop this damaging insect,” Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a press release. “The Emerald Ash Borer has already destroyed between 50-100 million ash trees in other parts of the country. If it takes hold in Maine, it will negatively impact the vitality of our forests and efforts to grow our natural resource economy.”

Commissioner Walt Whitcomb echoed the governor’s concerns and expressed confidence in his Department’s combined, collaborative approach to locating the insect as soon as possible. “Our foresters, entomologists and plant health experts have put together a comprehensive survey to catch the very first EABs to invade Maine. We are hopeful none enter this season. We are also calling upon the public to help us in this effort,” said Whitcomb, in the press release.

Maine’s 2013 National Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer Survey starts in May. It is a collaboration of federal, state and tribal agencies, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is also part of a national survey effort taking place in 44 states.

In Maine, it is a combined effort between the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Penobscot Nation Department of Natural Resources. Because of the insect’s potential adverse impact on Maine, the survey also is supported by numerous private businesses and landowners.
Starting this month, close to 875 distinctive, purple bug traps will be placed high up in the canopy of local ash trees at specified locations to see if the emerald ash borer (EAB) is present in Maine. The sites include trees at private businesses and lands, state parks, and campgrounds. Traps will be placed in high-risk zones based on their distance from known infested areas in other states, presence of ash trees, and proximity to travel routes.

The purple traps (EAB is attracted to purple) will be monitored in July and then again in September, when they will be removed. The analysis of the traps’ contents should be completed by December, according to state entomologists.

In addition to the purple traps that are utilized as part of the survey, Maine uses a number of other methods to detect the EAB. These other methods include:

  • Detection Trees. This method involves sacrificing a particular tree by removing a section of its bark. Egg-laying Emerald Ash Borer adults are highly attracted to weakened trees. If EABs are in the area, they usually can be found on these trees.
  • Biosurveillance . A native, non-stinging species of wasp is also being utilized to help locate the Emerald Ash Borer. This ground-dwelling wasp is highly adept at hunting the same family of beetles. Surveyors check these wasp nests for the bodies of EABs.
  • Outreach. All survey methods are important, but the DACF is actively working with the public through outreach and collaboration. The importance of this part of the effort cannot be overstated. Public awareness and support can make the difference, especially to help monitor areas that are not covered by official survey methods. In neighboring New Hampshire, the Emerald Ash Borer’s presence was discovered because a private citizen noticed a suspiciously symptomatic tree and reported it to state authorities.

For more information on the EAB, go to:




To report suspected findings in Maine call: (207) 287-2431 or 1-800-367-0223 (in state).