The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey is underway, marking the program’s sixth summer of research work.
DEC invites pool owners, now through August 30, to check their pool filters and help keep watch for these invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to the State’s forests and street trees. DEC and partners will also be hanging tags on host trees to encourage people to learn more about ALB and to demonstrate the potential impacts in neighborhoods and parks.
According to DEC, the majority of invasive forest pest infestations are found and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital component for protecting urban and rural forests. August is National Tree Check Month when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) encourages the public to look for evidence of ALB attack on trees in their area. The timing of these survey activities is important as ALB do not emerge from infested trees until the end of July and are most active in late summer.
DEC is asking people with swimming pools to periodically check their pool filters for insects that resemble ALB and either email photos to the Forest Health Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail insects to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab for identification, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054.
People without pools can help by learning how to recognize the beetle, as well as the signs it leaves behind.
ALB are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots and have long, black and white antennae. They leave perfectly round exit holes, about the size of a dime, in branches and tree trunks. Sawdust-like material called frass will collect on branches and around the base of the tree.
ALB is a wood boring beetle native to Asia 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 in New York City and Long Island, as well as across the country in New Jersey, Chicago, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Clermont, Ohio. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with APHIS, has worked diligently to manage the ALB infestations in our state and succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Eastern Queens.
For more information on ALB and the Pool Survey, visit DEC’s website or contact Jessica Cancelliere at (518) 810-1609.
Photo: Asian longhorned beetle, courtesy Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ.