The Patuxent Wetlands Park is a lovely setting in Anne Arundel County, Maryland where vibrant tidal wetlands give way to the Patuxent River. It is a place where the community enjoys fishing, boating and nature. It is also the site of one of the 500 purple, prism-shaped traps hanging high in Maryland ash trees this spring and summer. The purple traps help State and Federal officials to uncover signs of the invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle.
On April 10, 2012, Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance and I joined staff from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and members of the media to ceremonially lift a purple trap at the Patuxent Wetlands Park and set it in place for the 2012 EAB survey season.
Secretary Hance and I wanted to share several important messages during this media event. Primarily, we wanted to let residents know that these traps will be seen throughout Maryland and 46 other States that are participating in the 2012 EAB survey. EAB are drawn to the purple hue of the traps, as well as by the lures placed inside the traps. Any EAB in the vicinity of a trap will be attracted to it and will adhere to its sticky sides. The trap is subsequently evaluated by State and Federal officials for signs of EAB. A notice on each tree where a trap hangs informs of the survey and why the trap is there.
Secretary Hance and I were also able to highlight the important partnership the USDA has with States like Maryland as we work together to protect agriculture, forestry and the environment from the damage that can be done by invasive pests. Agriculture and agricultural production are bright spots in our national economy; together we work to maintain and enhance that vitality each and every day.
Join us. Everyone can help protect our precious resources and preserve our agricultural heritage by leaving hungry pests behind. Simple actions like not moving firewood can help stop invasive pests from spreading to new areas. When people are boating, fishing, birdwatching, hiking or even just cooking out in the backyard, there is an opportunity to fight invasive pests.
To learn more about what State and Federal agencies are doing to stop invasive pests and to learn of seven ways you can help leave them behind, please visit www.hungrypests.com. And, visit the APHIS You Tube site at http://www.youtube.com/usdaaphis to see “Emerald Ash Borer Purple Traps Explained” featuring Secretary Hance and I.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has declared April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Throughout the month, APHIS will post a series of blog entries here and also share invasive plant pest and disease information through our twitter feed. APHIS and its federal and state partners are fighting to protect our communities, our public lands, and our agricultural resources from invasive species.