Trapping program underway to track destructive insect in VA

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A trapping program is underway to determine if a destructive insect is spreading across the commonwealth. More than 5,000 traps will be set statewide. You've probably seen a few in your neighborhood.

The traps are easy to spot. They're purple in color and triangular in shape.

"There's an oil and a sticky substance placed on top of the oil -- the oil is attracting the bug then the sticky stuff holds them there," said Elaine Lidholm, Spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The bug is an ash tree killing pest called the Emerald Ash Borer. There's an infestation of the insect in several localities in Northern Virginia.

"Then you not only have to cut down and chip the infected tree but also every tree within a mile or so. This is a very serious problem," said Lidholm.

The state is trying to track if the bugs are on the move.

"It works from within which is why you never know the tree is sick until it almost dead. It's very invasive it doesn't have natural predators in Virginia," said Lidholm.

The state is asking residents to do their part by not artificially spreading the pest.

"They can do that by not moving firewood. Most firewood is hardwood which includes ash logs and they can harbor the insect," said Lidholm.

Traps will continue to be set throughout the state over the next several days.

Within the next 4 to 6 weeks all of the traps will be checked. Data will be collected and a decision will be made on whether the insect has spread.

The Emerald Ash Borer is native to Asia. The insect was first discovered in Virginia in 2003.

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