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Search for Asian Longhorned Beetle continues in Brooklyn streets and yards

Half the Trees in NYC Vulnerable

September 18, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Agriculture inspectors check for signs of Asian Longhorned Beetles in trees in Brooklyn Heights on Monday. Brooklyn and Queens are under quarantine for the pests, which could devastate parks, agriculture and tourism across the state if unchecked. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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Teams of agriculture inspectors wearing yellow hard hats can been seen measuring trees and peering through binoculars at leafy canopies on the streets and in the yards of Brooklyn this week as part of the ongoing battle against a devastating pest called Asian Longhorned Beetle

“We’re coming to do a triple check just to make sure we’ve eradicated the areas. It’s on 11 species of trees, including London planetrees,” an inspector from Davey Resource Group, contacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to carry out inspections, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday. The team was working its way along Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights.

The insects also attack maple, horsechestnut, elm, willow, birch, poplar and ash trees.

“If the pest is found on the tree, the usual method is to remove the entire tree because it causes really bad damage. And they’re a great reproducer — they’re able to have a lot of eggs,” the inspector added. USDA says the beetles can lay up to 60 eggs at a time.

First Discovered in Greenpoint

The destructive beetle was first discovered in Greenpoint in 1996 after it entered the country from China, likely hiding in wood packing materials. Roughly half of the trees in New York City are vulnerable to the invasive black-and-white insect. If infested, the tree must be chopped down and the wood pulped or burned.

Infestations have subsequently been found in Long Island, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and Ontario, Canada. Since its first detection in Brooklyn, a total of 7,083 infested and 16,655 high-risk trees have been removed, according to USDA.

Many people are not aware that much of Brooklyn and all of Queens is still under quarantine. Homeowners must allow inspectors onto their property, and regulated wood materials may not be removed from the area without a permit.

“We found in Brooklyn we’ve been doing a really good job getting rid of it,” the inspector said. “But it’s in Long Island, because they have a lot of wood piles and things like that.”

USDA warns that the beetle poses a dire threat to forests, parks and agriculture throughout New York state, including the maple sugar industry, and could also cripple tourism connected to the state’s fall foliage.

Keep Your Eyes Open

USDA is asking that residents keep a sharp lookout for the beetles, which are approximately 1.5 inches long and shiny black, with white spots on their wing cases. They have black-and-white antennae that can be up to twice as long as their body. Adults are active from July until October.

The main signs to look for include round, ½ inch exit holes, sap oozing from the holes and sawdust — called frass — collecting at the base of the tree or on branches.

If you see signs of the beetles, call the USDA hotline 877-STOP-ALB.



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