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Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
Andrea McNally (202) 690-4178

USDA TREATS NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY TREES AGAINST ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE

NEW YORK, May 3, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is treating approximately 98,000 trees susceptible to the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) with the insecticide imidacloprid in New York and New Jersey this spring.

These treatments, which have yielded positive results in the past, are part of the ALB cooperative eradication program's effort to prevent further infestation of this invasive insect pest and reduce beetle populations. Treatments should take place through May and into June.

Program officials, through the use of contracted certified pesticide applicators, will be treating ALB host trees by injecting insecticides in the soil around the base of trees, or by trunk injection using hand-held application devices. Treatment applications will be monitored by USDA.

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.

In the 132-square mile quarantine area in New York, USDA will treat a total of 66,400 trees, including some 10,300 trees in Manhattan, 24,000 trees in Brooklyn and approximately 32,100 trees in Queens.

In New Jersey's 25 mile quarantine area, treatments are taking place in Middlesex and Union counties for approximately 31,800 trees. USDA will treat 4,930 trees in Carteret, 6,460 in Woodbridge and 3,650 trees in Rahway. In Linden, 15,880 trees are scheduled for treatment and 880 trees are to be treated in a small portion of Roselle.

Lying in the Arthur Kill River between New York and New Jersey is Prall's Island, where ALB host trees were recently cut and chipped to address an ALB infestation. No treatments will take place on Prall's Island. USDA is currently determining whether treatments will take place on Staten Island and if so, to what extent.

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.

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. The insect was first found in Brooklyn in 1996. Subsequent infestations in New Jersey were discovered in 2002 and 2004.

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, Long Island and New Jersey 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.

The ALB Eradication Program is a cooperative effort among various federal, state and local agencies including, USDA's APHIS, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service; the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Department of Environmental Conservation; the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Protection; and the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation.

For more information on the treatment program, call in New York 1-866-265-0301 and in New Jersey (732) 815-4700. For more information about the ALB Cooperative Eradication Program visit the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/alb.


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