Last month while on our way back from a conference in New York, a group of us had the opportunity to stop at Schodack Island State Park. During our walk through the park we happened upon this odd contraption:
A closer inspection revealed this:
This is what is called a Lindgren Funnel Trap, a series of plastic funnels stacked together with the intent of catching insects and sending them down to a collection container at the base. The collector was filled with a blue liquid, probably ethylene glycol (antifreeze, a preservative), and the little blue package stuck in one of the funnels likely contained some kind of attractant, maybe even alpha-pinene, according to the Exotic Wood Borer Bark Beetle National Survey Field Manual put out by APHIS (pdf).
Turns out that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has been monitoring for EBBs, or "Exotic Bark Beetles" at locations all over the state for several years now. They are on the lookout for anything from the pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda) to longhorn beetles to non-beetle type of insects, including the European wood-boring wasp (Sirex noctilio) recently placed on Michigan's radar. It's good to know New York and other states have an early detection protocol for insects in place, so that we'll have a better chance at fending off that "Next Big Thing"...too bad a trapping system like this won't work for plants :-).