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.
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.
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).