Gov. Jack Dalrymple has declared May 22-28 as North Dakota Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, and is asking the state's residents to play a role in keeping the insect out of the state's ash tree population which numbers approximately 78 million.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) only attacks ash trees. The larvae feed under the bark disrupting the movement of water and nutrients and killing the tree within several years. Many millions of ash trees have been killed wherever the insect has been detected.
The EAB has already spread across more than a dozen states, including infestations reported on the westside of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
As a proactive measure several state and local entities are placing 250 EAB traps in cities, state parks, recreation areas, campgrounds, rest stops, county fairgrounds and ports of entry.
The two-foot-long, three-sided, purple traps are made with non-toxic glue and baited with a lure attractive to emerald ash borers. The traps will be monitored through July during the adult flight period.
Individuals seeing these traps are asked to leave them alone and not tamper with them.
West Fargo Forester Yvette Gehrke said city staff has posted flyers about the EAB threat in trees on Ninth Street East and around city hall as part of the statewide promotion.
Gehrke added that next week crews would also be setting traps test for the presence of the EAB in the city limits.
At least a half dozen of them will be positioned in strategic locations including those at the Red River Valley Fairground campgrounds where the threat may be stronger because of the ash borers ability to travel in fire wood.
Gehrke said the city is trying to be proactive with their involvement in keeping the bug at bay. In that regard, the education will be ongoing, including disseminating informational materials during the annual Night to Unite event that is always held the first Tuesday evening of August at Elmwood Park.
Gehrke said that anyone in the community who has questions about whether or not their ash trees might be infected with the EAB or if they think they have found a suspicious bug, should give her a call and she will be more than happy to come out and take a look.
She said if any of the bugs are detected in West Fargo ash trees the plan would be to remove the trees to help lessen the threat of spreading.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to call Gehrke at 701-433-5400.
More information about EAB is available on the NDDA website at www.agdepartment.com.