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You are here: NRS Home / Research Programs / Forest Disturbance Processes / Invasive Species / Emerald Ash Borer / Risk, Detection, and Spread / Girdled Trap Trees for Survey and Detection of EAB
Emerald Ash Borer

Girdled Trap Trees for Survey and Detection of Emerald Ash Borer

[photo:] Emerald ash borer trap treeResearch Issue

Early detection of new EAB infestations is critical for implementing rapid and focused responses to control and contain the infestation.  Accurate delimitation of the area infested by EAB is critical for regulatory officials who must establish the quarantine boundaries and implement control measures.  Survey crews initially relied on signs and symptoms such as adult exit holes, bark splits over galleries, epicormic shoots, or canopy dieback to identify potentially-infested trees.  Newly infested trees, however, typically demonstrate no external symptoms, making it difficult to truly delineate the EAB infestation.  Methods to attract and trap adult beetles, which are likely to be present for 10 to 12 weeks in the summer, would substantially increase our ability to identify new infestations and the leading edge and extent of the EAB distribution. 

 Our Research

We conducted several experiments to compare EAB attraction to ash trap logs, healthy ash trees, or trees that were stressed by girdling (an area of bark and phloem removed from the entire circumference of the tree), wounding (a similar area of bark and phloem removed in a vertical strip leaving most of the bark and phloem intact around the circumference), treatment with herbicide, treatment with Manuka oil that is attractive to EAB, or treatment with the hormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA) that promotes the production of stress-induced volatiles.  We evaluated the number of adults captured on sticky bands wrapped around the trap logs or trees and peeled sections of bark to determine larval density

Expected Outcomes

Girdled trap trees are an effective method for detecting low density populations of EAB and were implemented in statewide surveys for EAB.  Several new infestations were detected as a result of girdled trap trees, including a new infestation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The use of girdled trap trees is labor intensive and destructive; therefore artificial traps are preferred for large scale surveys.  Girdled trap trees may be most useful in areas where sensitive detection is needed and where management activities including tree removal are planned such as at new outlier sites. 

Research Results

More EAB adults were captured in sticky bands applied to girdled ash trees than in similar bands on healthy trees or cut ash logs.  Trees treated with herbicide were not badly stressed but were somewhat attractive and captured an intermediate number of beetles.  Significantly more EAB were also captured on girdled trees than trees that were wounded or treated with MeJA.  Significantly more larval galleries per m2 were found on the girdled trees than on trees with the other treatments.  Herbicide-treated trees are generally dead or dying by mid to late summer and are either unattractive to egg-laying EAB females or unsuitable for larval development. Girdled trees captured significantly more EAB than the control trees at all sites, regardless of EAB density.  When considering canopy exposure of trees, more than 90% of the EAB captured were on trees that were fully exposed or had 2-3 sides exposed to sunlight.  Over 4 years of trap tree experiments at sites with low to moderate EAB population densities, girdled trees have consistently been found to be more attractive for EAB than any other treatments compared.

McCullough, Deborah G.; Poland, Therese M.; Cappaert, David 2009. Attraction of the emerald ash borer to ash trees stressed by girdling, herbicide treatment, or wounding. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39:1331-1345.

McCullough, Deborah G.; Poland, Therese M.; Anulewicz, Andrea C.; Cappaert, David. 2009. Emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) attraction to stressed or baited ash trees. Environmental Entomology 38: 1668-1679.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Deborah G. McCullough, Michigan State University
  • Therese Poland, USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station Research Entomologist
  • Andrea Anulewicz, Michigan State University
  • David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Research Partners

  • Andrea Anulewicz, Michigan State University
  • David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Last Modified: 03/16/2016