DELMAR — Five Rivers Environmental Education Center was identified as the frontline in the state’s fight against the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle on Thursday, July 30.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos encouraged swimming pool owners to participate in the DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey.
During late summer, Asian Longhorned beetles emerge as adults and are active outside of their host tree. 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.
The wood-boring beetles are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and have black and white antennae. They are native to Asia and were accidentally introduced to the United States through wood-packing materials.
The beetle can be identified by the perfectly round exit holes it leaves in branches and trunks of trees. It creates sawdust-like material called frass that collects on branches and around the base of hardwood trees, including maples, birches and willows. They are attributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has worked diligently to manage infestations in New York, 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.
“The best opportunity to eradicate and limit the spread of invasive species is by finding infestations early, when populations are low,” said Seggos. “Swimming pool monitoring is a simple, economical approach to surveying for these pests and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting their communities.”
From now until swimming pools are closed for the season, the DEC is asking pool owners to periodically check their filters for insects that resemble the beetle, 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: Liam Somers.
Even people without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of the beetle in their communities.
For more information on the Asain Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey and the Asain Longhorned Beetle, including biology and identification tools, visit the DEC website at dec.ny.gov.