Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond, (301) 851-4070
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), together with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, is announcing plans for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication efforts taking place in 2017. APHIS and its partners have been making steady progress towards the eradication of this destructive tree pest since its detection in New York in 1996.
“The goal is to eliminate this non-native, tree-killing pest, from the United States,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ national operations manager for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program. “We are confident that we can remove the beetle using the strategies we have available to us.”
Program officials will continue to survey tree species preferred by the beetle, called host trees, within the regulated areas. Surveys are conducted year-round by specially trained federal, state and contracted ground survey crews and tree climbers. As infested host trees are detected throughout the year, they will be removed, and high-risk host tree removals will be evaluated as needed. Program officials will not apply insecticide treatments as part of the eradication efforts this year because surveys and infested tree removals remain the priority, but the use of insecticide treatment applications is evaluated annually. The insecticide treatment study that began in 2016 in Clermont County, Ohio, will continue for its second year out of a total of three consecutive years. Program staff continue to monitor for the beetle’s presence inside and outside the regulated areas, respond to service calls, conduct training sessions for compliance agreements, and perform outreach.
Currently, 308 square miles are under quarantine for ALB in the United States; 137 square miles in New York, which includes the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and a portion of central Long Island; 110 square miles in Worcester County, Massachusetts, which includes all of the City of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury, and a portion of the Towns of Holden and Auburn; and 61 square miles in Clermont County, Ohio, including East Fork State Park, Tate Township, and portions of Monroe, Stonelick and Batavia Townships. Infestations have been eradicated in Illinois (2008); New Jersey (2013); Manhattan (2013), Staten Island (2013), and Islip (2011) in New York; and Boston (2014) in Massachusetts.
To avoid spreading the beetle, people and businesses may not move regulated items out of an ALB quarantine area without a compliance agreement, permit, or certificate according to federal and state laws. If businesses or individuals conduct commercial work on regulated articles such as firewood (all hardwood species), nursery stock, logs, branches, etc., in any quarantine area, they must enter into a compliance agreement with the ALB eradication program in their state to move items to approved sites. Before entering into an agreement, they need to attend free compliance training. To register for the training, please call:
• 631-288-1751 if you work in New York.
• 508-852-8110 if you work in Massachusetts.
• 513-381-7180 if you work in Ohio.
USDA and its partners are conducting various research projects to learn more about the beetle, including regulatory treatments for wood and nursery stock, chip size and grinding techniques to deregulate ALB host materials, and traps to lure adult beetles. USDA APHIS is also studying how quickly the insect spreads on its own and its host tree preference and range and is conducting DNA analysis and various behavioral experiments.
ALB is a serious insect pest of certain hardwood tree species, with the potential to cause significant economic and environmental impacts if allowed to establish and spread throughout the United States. Residents are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. For more information about the beetle and program activities, please call the ALB toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or visit www.aphis.usda.gov/pests-diseases/alb.