The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking swimming pool owners to participate in the state’s annual Asian longhorned beetle swimming pool survey to gather evidence of the invasive pest.
During late summer, Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults and are active outside of their host tree. The goal of the survey is to locate infestations before they cause serious damage to the state’s forests and street trees.
“The best opportunity to eradicate and limit the spread of invasive species is by finding infestations early, when populations are low,” says DEC Commissioner Basil 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, DEC is asking pool owners to periodically check their filters for insects that resemble ALB, and report suspects either by emailing photos to email@example.com or mailing insects to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, N.Y., 12054, Attn: Liam Somers.
People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of ALB in their communities. The invasive pest ALB:
— Is 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 United States 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 State Department of Agriculture and Markets has worked to manage ALB 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.