Loveland sets traps to monitor emerald ash borer
Each year, for the past seven years, Loveland parks staff have placed traps in strategic areas to monitor whether the emerald ash borer has arrived in the city. Again, 10 traps were being placed Monday.
The pest has not been confirmed anywhere in Larimer County, in traps or ash trees, but tree experts have said the borer that is deadly to ash trees someday will migrate from Boulder County, where it has spread to four additional communities since it was first confirmed in the state in 2013.
Experts believe the insect was there for at least three years before it was confirmed, so in reality, the pest could be here, though tree specialists hope not.
“We cannot guarantee for sure that the emerald ash borer is not here,” said Rob MacDonald, the city’s tree specialist.
“We can at least monitor for its presence.”
While the insects do travel from tree to tree on their own, up to a half mile per year, they also spread when residents transport or haul wood. That is why, MacDonald places traps along the major arterial roads in Loveland, in case campers or others are hauling infested wood, and near the Loveland Recycling Center, which is a collection site for yard waste as well as scrap wood.
The traps are designed with colors and chemicals to attract the emerald ash borer. They are placed as a way to monitor whether the pest has arrived.
Since it was discovered in Boulder in 2013, the pest — which has destroyed trees across the Midwest and Canada — has been confirmed in Longmont, Lafayette, Gunbarrel and most recently Lyons, all in Boulder County. That county is under a quarantine, placed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer through transported firewood.
In addition to monitoring traps, the city of Loveland has identified ash trees along public streets, in parks and at public facilities to remove as a precaution and to replace with other species not threatened by the invasive pest. This has been underway for several years, though MacDonald said more trees are slated to come down as the city continues its efforts.
As for private residences, MacDonald encourages homeowners to identify which trees are ash species susceptible to the invasive insect and decide, based on the health and location of the tree, whether they are worth treating or should be removed and replaced.