By NBF News

Governor Jim Doyle joined 15 other governors last week in declaring Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, reported on Monday.

Technicians, like Stender, are fanned across the state setting traps on the ash trees.

When he is finished, Stender will have hung 285 purple, sticky traps, each about 1.5 miles apart. The agriculture department plans to monitor the triangle-shaped traps, about two feet in length, through summer.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle that attacks all species of North American ash trees, which make up about 20 per cent of Wisconsin's municipal trees and about 765 million trees in the state's forests. To put that into perspective, that's about eight per cent of the tree population in forests.

In Appleton, where an ash tree replacement programme has been in place since 2003, ash makes up 15 per cent of all municipal trees.

So far, the beetle has been found in Vernon County, southern Milwaukee County, Green Bay and near Kenosha.

The invasive species was first discovered in 2002 in Michigan, likely introduced from Asia through wood packing material.

It was found in August 2008 in South Eastern Wisconsin.

It has devastated tens of millions of ash trees in the country and triggered regulatory agencies to declare quarantines.

Mick Skwarok, a plant, pest and disease specialist and spokesman for the agriculture department, issued this reminder to consumers: Don't move firewood.

Appleton, meanwhile, plans to replace 300 ash trees this year. The city also accepts requests from homeowners who want to remove ash trees on their property. It's the only tree where the city makes an exception.