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Fredericton researchers develop device being used to track Emerald Ash Borer

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WATCH ABOVE: Natural Resources researchers have developed a device that lures and traps the Emerald Ash Borer in anticipation of the pest arriving in New Brunswick forests. Global’s Jeremy Keefe explains – Jul 7, 2017

Researchers in Fredericton are using a variety of methods to mitigate the eventual arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer — a destructive and invasive beetle — including developing and testing an original trap.

The baited prism trap was developed by local Natural Resources Canada research scientists led by Peter Silk.

It works by attracting the insect visually through colour and design and by smell with the use of pheromones.

READ MORE: NB government steps up efforts to tackle spruce budworm, avoid outbreak

“Insects use their eyes to locate hosts and each other, they also use sound and smell, the so-called pheromones that are produced by females,” Silk explained. “We unravel that code [and] put it all together to develop a detection tool.”

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Originally coming to North America from overseas the pest has spread throughout Ontario and Quebec.

Researchers say its entrance into New Brunswick is just a matter of time but its negative effects can be lessened by staying ahead of the destructive insect.

It’s not the adult insects that are the problem, it’s the larvae, according to experts.

About 10 days after eggs are laid, the larvae emerge and feed beneath the bark of ash trees, cutting off their ability to move water and nutrients.

One infected, an ash tree is typically lost within one to three years.

READ MORE: Destructive, invasive beetle heading for the Maritimes

“The primary aspects of our research deal with detection of Emerald Ash Borer populations and mitigation,” explained Lucas Roscoe, who works alongside Dr. Silk. “So this is the use of tree injected compounds that kill Emerald Ash Borer and the study of natural enemies that can locate and destroy Emerald Ash Borer in forest environments.”

The City of Fredericton has agreed to place prism traps in parts of the city where the pest could spring up.

Right now scientists urge residents not to transport wood over long distances due to the potential for Emerald Ash Borer contamination.

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“The primary method for Emerald Ash Borer and stopping it is quarantine and the stopping of moving contaminated fire wood,” said Roscoe.  “Unfortunately it’s not a 100 per cent air tight solution.”

“If they’re going to move firewood, only purchase firewood that’s been treated for invasive species.”

With files from Natasha Pace, Global News

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