Fighting the Emerald Ash Borer

Purple traps are being monitored around CNY to track Emerald Ash Borers

A bright green insect that's smaller than a penny is a threat to ash trees - and it's almost here in Central New York.

Dr. Melissa Fierke, a SUNY ESF researcher who studies the invasive species, says the big purple traps that are now hanging in trees in Onondaga and surrounding counties will tell scientists when they're actually here.

Why purple? "The beetles like that color," says Dr. Fierke.

The state DEC is also relying on people to report if they see the bullet shaped insects. When I thought I'd spotted one, in Skaneateles, I called and was told to take a picture and email it in with information on the location. Dr. Fierke suggests checking your computer first for a better identification. If you input 'Emerald Ash Borer', you'll get lots of pictures.

The good news from my specimen - it was not an Emerald Ash Borer. One small break, and time is critical.

As researchers learn more about the insect, there are hopes that more ash trees can be saved from the invasion. Insecticides are effective, but they have to be timed right. A Cornell researcher is putting out a report later this week on what seems to work well. Dr. Fierke is also looking at 'sacrificing' one tree to attract more of the insects and draw them away from still healthy trees as a strategy to minimize damage.