Friday, August 8, 2014

The Dreaded Purple Trap

Rounding out what turned out to be a week of purple prose, or at least blog posts that somehow incorporated purple things, I want to turn to purple (so to speak) once again.

I wrote this during a 2013 blogging challenge.  So far this year, the dreaded purple boxes are not visible in my neighborhood, but it doesn't mean the emerald ash borer is any less of a threat.  In fact, it is spreading into Eastern Massachusetts and Boston.

Our lives have always been in accommodation to nature, whether we realize that or not.

Let's hope the dreaded purple trap isn't on its way to a tree near you.

The Dreaded Purple Trap

Today, bloggers participating in the 2013 WordCount Blogathon write haiku.  Two years ago, I wrote Civil War haiku. Last year's haiku day includes a definition of haiku.

Except for the three line, 5-7-5 syllable count, my "haiku" doesn't really qualify as true haiku.  But since when has that kept me from my once a year effort to make true haiku fans cringe?

Today's haiku are based on something I saw the other day on a walk through my neighborhood near Johnson City, New York.  My heart sank when I saw the dreaded purple box.  Indeed, there are two ash trees, side by side, just blocks from where I live.

The magnificent ash
Survived kids, floods and squirrels,
Standing patient guard.

The ash borer came.
Will the purple trap find one?
What will happen now?

The magnificent ash.  900 million ash trees in New York State are endangered.  The emerald ash borer has arrived.

The last thing I wanted to do for Haiku Monday was write one about the emerald ash borer, which now is in 19 states in the United States, and threatens various types of ash trees, including the one that baseball bats are made from.  The emerald ash borer is not the first invasive species (or fungus) that comes from overseas to endanger a beloved tree.  And it will not be the last.

Just because the purple box traps that are put into trees (with a botanical lure) have appeared in my neighborhood doesn't mean the ash borer has. (These beetles are also attracted by blue and purple colors.)  But it's not a good feeling, based on the past history of trees in the United States.

There was the American chestnut, brought low by a fungus.

There was the American Elm, many dead from a pathogen carried by the elm bark beetle.  So many Elm Streets in our nation, so few elms left.

And now, we battle for our friends, the ash trees.  Not just us here in the United States battle. Canadians battle.  Meanwhile, in Europe, Norwegians and others battle an ash fungus.

It isn't a good time in which to be an ash tree.

Don't move firewood, we are told.  Slow down the spread.  Give scientists a chance to find a natural answer to this beetle.

Are beloved trees in your neighborhood or country endangered by a foreign foe?


  1. Vey informative post! Thank you!

  2. It's why bringing things "back" from foreign lands is usually a very BAD idea. Because we upset the natural order of things.

  3. The only time we see these kinds of traps here is 1. When it's mosquito season and they're checking to make sure none of them have West Nile Virus and 2. When it's citrus season and they're checking to make sure there are no fruit flies that will destroy the crops.

  4. I hope people will be united and help preserve our forest. Thank you for such a great read!

  5. When I started reading this, I wondered what on earth 'the dreaded purple trap' was, but now I know what it is. I hope we will be successful in protecting these precious trees.

  6. I'm sad for the ash trees. Our planet couldn't live without trees to take the goodness from the earth and spread it into the atmosphere to protect us.
    The horse chestnut trees which grow hundreds of feet into the air opposite our home are suffering. Their leaves start dying in July before their final fall in November. I don't know if the disease is fatal, but they're dropping tons of conkers.


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