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City installs traps to protect trees against elm bark beetles

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  March 8, 2012 04:22 PM

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beetle traps 008.jpg

(Photo courtesy Boston Parks and Recreation Department)

The city has installed elm bark beetle traps on 12 trees throughout the Emerald Necklace.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has installed experimental traps on a dozen trees to protect the city’s elms from elm bark beetles this spring.

The 18.5"x 28" green plywood box traps were mounted to 12 trees in the Emerald Necklace on March 1 and will stay up until Oct. 1 to capture and monitor the beetle the city describes as “invasive” and “destructive.”

Elm bark beetles damage trees when their larvae build so-called galleries beneath the bark, and adults moving from tree to tree can carry Dutch elm disease spores with them, a disease that wilts and kills elms.

According to the Parks Department, the beetles often move from sick to healthy elms as adult beetles spend winters at the base of trees and emerge in spring to feed on healthy elms while larvae stay under bark until summer. The beetles then return to "bases" in fall, allowing many opportunities for the the beetles to spread Dutch elm disease.

The new boxes were mounted about 15 feet off the ground on trees at least 150 feet from any elms, according to the city. The traps, which do not contain any pesticides or harmful chemicals, are lined with a flypaper-like sticky surface infused with pheromones to lure the beetles.

The Parks Department and the Friends of the Public Garden will use the data to learn more about the beetle population and the timing of their hatching cycle. This could help them establish a more effective method managing the beetles, the city says.

Four traps were installed on Boston Common, four in the Public Garden, three in the Fenway Victory Garden, and one in Copley Square.
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Twitter: @YTFenwayKenmore, @JohannaKaiser
E-mail: johanna.yourtown@gmail.com

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