SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Forest Service is on the look out for an Asian beetle that could soon threaten millions of the city's trees.
More than a dozen states have already been devastated by the emerald ash borer.
The non-native beetle so far has been responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This week, the Texas Forest Service will be examining 20 traps it set eight weeks ago in Bexar County for the beetle.
The purple traps coated with a specialized glue and scent hang from ash trees across the city.
Forester Paul Johnson said the beetle they are looking for is smaller than a penny.
“It’s a small beetle but there are a lot of them and they can be very, very destructive," he said.
The emerald ash borer recently was detected in southern Missouri, and Johnson said the fear is that it may have traveled south this winter by way of transported firewood.
"If we know where the pest is and where it is coming from, we can help communities make the best choices and plan out into the future," said Johnson.
Johnson said so far no effective way to kill the beetle or protect large quantities of ash trees has been found.