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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Emerald Ash Borer

Trapping and Attractants

[photo:] Green and purple emerald ash borer trapsResearch Issue

Early detection of emerald ash borer (EAB) is notoriously difficult due to initial lack of external visible symptoms and the cryptic nature of larvae feeding inside trees.  By the time symptoms such as D-shaped exit holes, epicormics shoots, bark splits, and canopy die-back are evident, beetles have already emerged from trees and dispersed.  Girdled trees are attractive to EAB and can be used as detection tools but are destructive and labor intensive.  EAB has also been found to be attracted to volatiles from ash leaves and bark, to the colors green and purple, and to open grown trees in sunny locations.  Developing improved traps and lures for early detection remains a critical need for regulatory programs and for managers to implement rapid control measures.  

 Our Research

We analyzed volatile odors from ash trees and identified green leaf volatiles that elicit responses by EAB antennae.  Manuka oil, which contains several volatile compounds present in ash bark has also been found to be attractive to EAB.  We evaluated various trap designs, colors, and lures for attraction and detection of emerald ash borer at sites with differing emerald ash borer population densities and tree conditions.  We developed a trap incorporating all of the known visual and olfactory cues attractive to emerald ash borer.  Double-decker traps mimic the visual silhouette and odors of an ash tree.  They are composed of two sticky prism panels mounted on a 3-m tall PVC pole, set in open locations, and baited with green leaf volatiles on the upper panel and Manuka oil (bark volatiles) on the lower panel.  In a series of field trapping experiments we compared detection rates and numbers of emerald ash borers captured on green or purple double decker traps and many other trap designs including green or purple 3-sided prism traps and green multiple funnel traps hung in the ash canopy at field sites with different emerald ash borer population densities. 

Expected Outcomes

Detection of new EAB infestations is extremely challenging.  Early detection is critical for early intervention and management.  Results will provide regulatory agencies and resource managers with new tools for detecting and monitoring EAB infestations.

Research Results

Overall, double-decker traps, green prism traps hung in the canopy and green funnel traps hung in the canopy are all effective detection traps for EAB with 76 to 100% detection rates at sites with very low densities of EAB.  Across all of our studies, double-decker traps tended to have the highest detection rates (generally 100%) and less variability than traps hung in the canopy where trap captures are influenced by infestation level of trees in which the traps are hung. Traps baited with the green leaf volatile, cis-3-hexenol, alone were as attractive to EAB as traps with Manuka oil added. 

Poland, Therese M.; Mccullough, Deborah G. 2014. Comparison of trap types and colors for capturing emerald ash borer adults at different population densities. Environmental Entomology. 43(1): 157-170.

Petrice, T.R.; Haack, R.A.; Poland, T.M.  2013.  Attraction of Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and other buprestids to sticky traps of various colors and shapes. The Great Lakes Entomologist  46: 13-30.

Grant, Gary G.; Poland, Therese M.; Ciaramitaro, Tina; Lyons, D. Barry; Jones, Gene C. 2011. Comparison of male and female emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) responses to phoebe oil and (Z)-3-hexanol lures in light green prism traps. Economic Entomology. 104(1): 173-179.

McCullough, D.G.; Siegert, N.W.; Poland, T.M.; Pierce, S.J.; Ahn, S.Z.  2011.  Effects of trap type, placement and ash distribution on emerald ash borer captures in a low density site.  Environmental Entomology  40:  1239-1252.

Poland, Therese M.; McCullough, Deborah G.; Anulewicz, Andrea C. 2011. Evaluation of double-decker traps for emerald ash borer (Coleoptera:Buprestidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 104(2): 517-531.

Corrk, Damon J.; Khrimian, Ashot; Francese, Joseph A.; Fraser, Ivich; Poland, Therese M.; Sawyer, Alan J.; Mastro, Victor C.  2008.  Development of a Host-Based Semiochemical Lure for Trapping Emerald Ash Borer Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Environmental Entomology 37(2): 356-365.

de Groot, Peter; Grant, Gary G.; Poland, Therese M.; Scharbach, Roger; Buchan, Linda; Nott, Reginald W.; Macdonald, Linda; Pitt, Doug. 2008. Electrophysiological response and attraction of emerald ash borer to green leaf volatiles (GLVs) emitted by host foliage. Journal of Chemical Egology. 34: 1170-1179.

Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar; Poland, Therese M.; Miller, James R.; Stelinski, Lukasz L.; Grant, Gary G.; de Groot, Peter; Buchan, Linda; Mac Donald, Linda. 2006. Behavioral and electrophysiological responses of the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, to induced volatiles of Manchurian ash, Fraxinus mandshurica Chemoecology 16: 75-86 (2006).

Research Participants

Principal Investigator

  • Therese Poland, US Forest Service - Northern Research Station Research Entomologist

Research Partners

Last Modified: 03/04/2016