Unbeknownst to onlookers, a hidden danger has trespassed over the boundaries of Michigan, invading Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and 13 other states, terrorizing regions where ash trees thrive. Known as the Emerald ash borer, these insects labeled as North America’s most destructive insects have wreaked havoc in the forest population. Their eggs, planted on the bark, form larvae which burrow itself under the bark and into the tree. Devouring into the inner flesh of the ash trees, the Emerald ash borer larvae has killed over millions of ash trees within the past decade. Now, these Emerald ash borers are advancing towards the borders of New York, threatening not only New York, but also New England.

To combat the invasion, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Otis, Massachusetts created detection traps that attract insects to track the progression and movement of the Emerald ash borers.  Led by the director of the pest control laboratory, Victen Mastro and his team studied the eye size and coloration of these Emerald ash borers and discovered that not green, red, or light purple, but deep purple is the insect’s favorite. The potent combination of deep purple and manuka oil, the Barney trap is a strong appeal to insects (like the lovable purple dinosaur once was to children).

Further preventive measures along with the Barney trap have been taken as the Emerald ash borers continue to propagate. But with this new discovery and the rising awareness of Emerald ash borers, hopefully these destructive creatures will not burrow itself into the boundaries of New England.

Young Kwon, Features Writer

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/science/13beetle.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=science

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