What’s with the purple boxes?

Why are there so many big purple boxes hanging in the trees? That has been the most frequently asked question this past week. Here is the answer. They’re part of a survey to figure out the extent of Virginia’s emerald ash borer infestation. This year’s survey is focusing on central, southern and western Virginia. About 5,500 traps will be set for the beetles which have killed ten’s of millions of trees in the eastern U.S. and Canada.

You can’t miss the traps if they have been set out in your area. They are triangular in shape, purple in color, baited with a natural plant oil attractant and covered with a non-toxic glue to catch the insects.

As is often the case with invasive insects, the borers were introduced into the U.S. from Asia and first detected in Michigan in 2002.

Agriculture officials established a quarantine in ten Northern counties and cities in 2008 and expanded the area to include the northern Shenandoah Valley in 2010. The quarantine restricts shipments of ash trees, green lumber from ash trees, and hardwood firewood.

Mystery solved!

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