NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - East Texas is all too familiar with the southern pine beetle eating up pine stands.
Now foresters are on the lookout for another wood-loving beetle.
It's called the emerald ash borer, and like its name, it goes after the hardwood ash.
Stephen F. Austin State University's Forestry Department is taking an active role in its detection.
In the Forestry Department and beyond, Dr. David Kulhavy, a professor, is known as "Dr. Bug." He finds most all insects fascinating, even when they're destructive, like the emerald ash beetle.
"The beetle can be identified because of this distinctive bronze color underneath the wings," Kulhavy said. "It's only about the size of a penny."
However, it's capable of destroying tens of millions of ash trees across the United States.
"This is a type of gallary or larvae mine that they make," Kilhavy said.
The beetle larvae will end its development in early fall, so the annual search for the beetles wraps up in late summer.
"I want to show you what they call the prism trap," Kilhavy said. "It's a triangular trap. It's purple."
It's not in recognition of the school colors worn by the SFA students who sort thru the buggy mess left on the sticky traps.
"It would be nice if it was," Kilhavy said with a chuckle. "Like to advertise that way. No, these are the traps that color seems to attract the beetle. In fact, it worked here in Texas."
In March, four beetles were found near Karnack.
"To this point there are no known infestations," Kulhavy said.
Ash trees make up about 1 1/2 percent of commercial hardwood forest in East Texas.
"Yes a beautiful urban tree. Beautiful shade tree," Kulhavy said.
The purple traps aid in the trees' protection, but property owners can help, too, by knowing how to identify an ash tree...
"The leaves as they come out are opposite on the tree," Kulhavy said.
And if you're concerned the beetle is lurking, call the Texas Forest Service or send an e-mail to Kulhavy.