Trap Trees: A Detection Tool for Emerald Ash Borer

Ash trees being girdled as a detection tool for emerald ash borer (EAB).  Photo: ME Dept. Ag.

Studies conducted by Michigan State University and USDA Forest Service suggest that girdled ash trees are an effective detection tool for emerald ash borer. Emerald ash borer adults are attracted to stressed ash trees, and lay more eggs on stressed than healthy trees. Girdling ash by removing the bark and phloem around the entire circumference of the trunk, creates an effective attractant for the insect.

Girdled trees are allowed to stand for a growing season, and then are removed for processing. Processing involves removing all of the bark on specific sections of the trunk to search out larval feeding galleries and emerald ash borer life stages. Although girdling and bark peeling are labor intensive and involve the sacrifice of a live tree, girdled trap trees are a good option for detection of EAB, and may be one of the best options for concerned landowners (but see also biosurveillance).

For more information about setting up a trap tree in Maine, please contact us.