City Fighting Beetles in Boston’s Parks

Bark beetle devastation.

The city of Boston is expanding its beetle-fighting program to help stop the spread of the nasty elm bark beetle that threatens to destroy trees in the city’s parks.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has placed 24 traps in location around the Emerald Necklace and Copley Square to help stop the spread of the beetle. The program first started last year. 

This year, six traps have been placed on Boston Common, five in the Public Garden, five in the Fenway Victory Garden, five on side streets along Commonwealth Avenue Mall, two along the Muddy River, and one in Copley Square.  This doubles last year’s placement of a dozen traps.

The traps consist of 18.5″x 28″ green plywood boxes mounted  approximately 15 feet off the ground on trees located at least 150 feet away from any elms. Each trap contains a paper lining with a sticky surface that acts like old fashioned flypaper.  The paper is infused with a pheromone lure to attract the insects. The traps contain no pesticides or harmful chemicals, the city said.

The traps will remain in place until early October.

This particlar type of beetle, the elm bark beetle, destroys tree bark when they live beneath the tree bark as larvae. As adults, they pose an additional threat by carrying the Dutch elm tree disease from sick trees to healthy trees. 

“Using elm bark beetle traps and monitoring them closely provides important data for scientists fighting the transmission of Dutch elm disease,” the Boston Parks Department said in a statement. “With this field research, they are able to identify the species of elm bark beetle attacking the elm trees, better understand their life cycle including emergence and breeding patterns, keep track of the existing population, and disrupt their normal breeding behavior.”

Have you seen any damage to your trees from these beetles? Tell us in the comments. 

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