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Early Discovery Of Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestations Saves Both Money And Trees

State DEC officials are asking New York’s swimming pool owners to participate in the DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey during August.

During late summer, Asian longhorned beetles emerge as adults and are most active outside of their host trees. The goal of the survey is to locate infestations of these invasive pests before they cause serious damage to the state’s forests and street trees.

“Most invasive forest pest infestations have been discovered and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital tool for protecting our urban and rural forests,” said Basil Seggos, DEC commissioner. “Swimming pool monitoring is a simple, economical approach to surveying for Asian longhorned beetles and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting the trees in their yards and communities.”

DEC is asking swimming pool owners to periodically check pool filters for insects that resemble Asian longhorned beetles and report suspects either by emailing photos to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mailing insects to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere.

People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of Asian longhorned beetles in their communities. With more people currently staying at home, it is a perfect opportunity to pay closer attention to yard and neighborhood trees.

Invasive Asian longhorned beetles are:

¯ About 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and have black and white antennae;

¯ Leave perfectly round exit holes about the size of a dime in branches and trunks of host trees; and

¯ Create sawdust-like material called frass that collects on branches and around the base of trees.

Asian longhorned beetles are wood-boring beetles native to Asia that were accidentally introduced to the United States through wood packing materials. The pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows, among others, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has worked to manage Asian longhorned beetle infestations in the state, eradicating them from Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Queens. The beetle is still actively managed in central Long Island, and there are active infestations in Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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