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Beetles in your skimmer? Call authorities

Beetles in your skimmer? Call authorities Beetles in your skimmer? Call authorities

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is calling on all resident pool owners and professionals to keep their eyes open for a small, black beetle with white spots. You’ll be helping to stem the spread of the invasive Asian longhorned beetle, which could attack Upstate New York’s prized maple trees.

Mid to late summer is when the insects become active outside of the trees they are infesting, and when the state Department of Environmental Conservation runs its annual Asian longhorned beetle swimming pool survey.

According to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, the best opportunity to eradicate and limit the spread of invasive species is by finding infestations early, when populations are low.

“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.”

Volunteers are asked to check pool filters and skimmers and email pictures of suspected beetles. (See photo) The 1.5inch beetles are black with white spots on their wing cases; their black-and-white antennae can be twice as long as their bodies.

Alternately, mail the bugs to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, N.Y. 12054. Mark the envelope “Attention: Liam Somers.”

According to DEC, the beetles, native to Asia, came to the U.S. in wood-packing materials. The beetle was first spotted in New York state in 1996, in a Norway maple tree in Brooklyn. Beetles have since been found in several New York City boroughs and on Long Island.

“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,” DEC said. “Since maples are a preferred host, the spread of the beetle into the rest of the state would mean devastating impacts to the maple syrup industry through the loss of healthy sugar bush.”

The beetles are known to attack maple, horse chestnut, elm, willow, birch, poplar, and ash trees. Tunneling by ALB larvae damages the vascular system of the tree. Repeated attacks lead to dieback of the tree crown, and, eventually, death of the tree.

More information about the beetles is available on the DEC’s website at https:// www.dec.ny.gov/.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

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