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DEC seeks swimming pool owners for citizen science survey of invasive beetle

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Fri, Jul 24th 2020 03:45 pm

Early discovery of Asian longhorned beetle infestations saves money & trees

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos encouraged New York’s swimming pool owners to participate in DEC's annual Asian longhorned beetle swimming pool survey during the month of August.

During late summer, Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) 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,” Seggos said. “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 ALB and report suspects either by emailing photos to [email protected] or mailing insects to DEC's Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere.

DEC said, “People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of ALB 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 ALB:

√ 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.

ALB are wood-boring beetles native to Asia that were accidentally introduced to the U.S. through wood packing materials. These 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 New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets worked diligently to manage ALB infestations in the state, successfully 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.

For more information on the ALB pool survey and ALB, including biology and identification tools, visit DEC's website.

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