Rhonda Santos (508) 852-8044
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2011--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announces the beginning of visual survey work to determine whether Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) has been effectively eradicated from Middlesex and Union counties, N.J.
APHIS and the State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) initiated a confirmation survey of the estimated 128,700 ALB host trees within the quarantined areas of Middlesex and Union counties. The work is expected to continue into early 2013.
APHIS and NJDA will work with a contractor, the Davey Tree Expert Company, to complete the work by performing tree climbing, bucket truck and ground-based inspections of publicly accessible and privately owned residential ALB host trees.
All contractor vehicles involved in the survey effort will have identifying signage and all inspectors, whether contractor or government, will be carrying official identification. The public can assist the eradication effort by allowing survey officials access to susceptible trees on public and private property to evaluate any signs of ALB infestation.
The ALB program is conducting this survey effort because it is required to confirm the eradication of the beetle from Middlesex and Union counties prior to rescinding regulations. The confirmation of ALB eradication will lead to the removal of the two counties from the current quarantine regulation, and should result in lower costs associated with the handling and disposal of regulated host material by homeowners, landscapers, municipalities, nurseries and other green industry groups.
The ALB program is a cooperative effort among various federal, state and local agencies including, USDA's APHIS, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service; as well as the NJDA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, regulating the movement of ALB and ALB host material, conducting visual inspections, removing infested trees and chemically treating noninfested host trees as part of an integrated eradication strategy.
For more information regarding the survey work, or for information on the New Jersey cooperative eradication program in general, call 1-732-815-4700. For information about the beetle and program activities, please call 1-866-233-8531 or visit www.BeetleBusters.info for additional information about ALB, including pictures and where to report a suspected beetle or suspected signs of infestation. For regulated area maps, review the ALB website at www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/asian_lhb/
index.shtml and select “ALB Program Maps.”
Note to reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through really simple syndication (RSS) feeds. Go to the APHIS news release page at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link.
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