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Ask Mr. Answer Person: ""What are all the purple boxes hanging in trees in Winneshiek County?"

Posted: Tue, Jun 21, 2011 2:11 PM
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Rachel e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "What are all the purple boxes hanging in trees in Winneshiek County?"

Mr. Answer Person says: It's hard to miss the large purple traps.  They have been set out in trees every mile or two in Winneshiek County.

You might have heard last June how an Emerald Ash Borer infestation had been confirmed along the Mississippi River in Allamakee County, two miles south of the Minnesota border.  This destructive insect targets ash trees, causing serious damage.

State and federal officials are hoping to contain the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, but first they have to determine whether the EABs have spread to the west.  That's where the purple boxes come in.

The purple boxes are insect traps that contain small packets of Petri oil that attract insects.  The State of Iowa will leave the traps up until mid-July or so, then begin the process of collecting them to determine whether any of the bugs caught in the traps are emerald ash Borers.

The purple boxes are much larger than regular traps because researchers aren't sure yet what attracts EABs, so they're just hoping to catch the insects by using large traps.  Of course, it would be good news for Winneshiek County if none of the EABs were found.

State officials say they ought to be able to make some announcement in early fall about what the traps found.

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