Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
USDA TO TREAT NEW YORK TREES AGAINST ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE
NEW YORK, March 10, 2006–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will treat approximately 51,100 trees susceptible to the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York this spring. These treatments are part of the ALB cooperative eradication program’s effort to prevent further infestation of this invasive insect pest and reduce beetle populations.
APHIS will treat trees in portions of the 132-square mile quarantine area in New York with the insecticide imidacloprid, which has yielded positive results in past treatments. Program officials will begin the treatment schedule with approximately 11,282 trees in Manhattan starting in mid-March. Treatment to approximately 22,900 trees in Brooklyn will follow starting in early April. By mid-April, the treatment of 17,000 trees in Queens will begin.
Program officials, through the use of certified pesticide applicator contractors, will be primarily treating the soil surrounding trees, where appropriate, or by injecting the insecticide into the trees through a hand-held hydraulic applicator that uses compressed air to inject insecticide into the tree’s trunk. Each site will be closely monitored.
Regardless of the treatment form, the imidacloprid is dispersed through the tree’s vascular system. This enables the insecticide to reach ALB adults feeding on small twigs and leaves and the larvae feeding beneath the bark of host trees. Imidacloprid is currently used in the lawn care industry to kill lawn grubs and in some domestic pet treatments to kill fleas.
The larvae of the ALB bore into healthy hardwood trees and feed on living tree tissue and heartwood. Later, throughout the summer, adult beetles emerge from exit holes and briefly feed on the leaves and small twigs of host trees. To fight this destructive invader, agriculture officials have removed and destroyed more than 6,000 trees infested with ALB in and around New York City and Long Island since the insect was found in Brooklyn in 1996.
APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, conducting visual inspections around confirmed sites to determine the scope of infestations, removing infested and high-risk exposed trees and chemically treating host trees as part of an areawide integrated pest eradication strategy. The goal is to eliminate this destructive insect from New York City and Long Island before it can establish itself elsewhere.
The public can assist the eradication effort by allowing project officials access to their property to evaluate susceptible trees for any signs of ALB infestation and/or to treat trees that are susceptible to ALB infestation. For more information on the treatment program, call 1-866-265-0301. The public can help by looking for ALB, which are about 1 to 1.5 inches long, have a shiny jet black body with distinctive white spots and long antennae that are banded in black and white. To report a sighting of this insect, call 1-877-STOP ALB.
APHIS, USDA’s Forest Service, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation participate in the ALB cooperative eradication program. For more information visit the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/alb.
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