New York Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program Announces Next Steps in 2015

New York Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program Announces Next Steps in 2015

Contact:
Rhonda Santos, (508) 852-8044
rhonda.j.santos@aphis.usda.gov

Suzanne Bond, (301) 851-4070
suzanne.m.bond@aphis.usda.gov

Washington, April 3, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets today announced plans for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication efforts taking place in New York in 2015.  APHIS and its partners have been conducting eradication efforts of this destructive tree pest in New York since its detection in 1996.

The ALB eradication program uses an integrated approach to eradicate the beetle, which consists of quarantines, visual surveys of trees, the removal of infested and high-risk host trees, and the application of pesticides.  Currently, 137 square miles are under regulation in New York, which includes the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and a portion of central Long Island.  Infestations in Manhattan, Staten Island, and Islip have all been eradicated.

In 2015, the program will continue to survey host trees within the regulated areas.  Surveys are conducted year-round by specially trained federal, state, and contracted ground survey crews and tree climbers.  Infested tree removals will continue throughout the year as infested trees are detected, and the evaluation of high-risk host tree removals will be done as needed.  The program will not apply pesticide treatments in New York this year as surveys and infested tree removals remain the priority, but will continue to evaluate the use of treatment applications annually.  In addition, program staff continue to monitor the regulated areas, respond to service calls, and conduct training sessions for compliance agreements.  

Free compliance trainings are offered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and are available for any businesses or individuals engaged in activities requiring the proper handling, movement, and disposal of regulated articles that are harvested within the ALB regulated areas.  For more information, please call 1-631-288-1751.

The goal of the ALB program is to eradicate the pest in the United States.  To achieve this goal, the program develops and implements science-based eradication methods.  APHIS continues its work developing pheromone traps to lure and capture the insect.  The program will place traps in New York by June.  Other projects include regulatory treatments for wood and nursery stock, and looking at chip size and grinding techniques to deregulate host material.  APHIS continues analysis to determine how fast the insect spreads on its own, evaluates host trees the beetle attacks for preference and range, and conducts DNA analysis and behavioral experiments.  

APHIS is also continuing to seek public comments on the draft programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for the national ALB Eradication Program.  The draft EIS analyzes the potential effects of eradicating ALB should the beetle be discovered elsewhere in the continental United States.  Any interested persons are invited to comment, and APHIS will consider all comments received on or before April 27, 2015.  You can view and comment on the EIS through the following link:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0003.

USDA partners with Federal, State and local municipalities to eradicate ALB and protect our nation’s urban and suburban shade trees, and recreational and forest resources.  These partnerships benefit the health of our environment and reduce threats to other areas.  Support from the public is also crucial in achieving eradication.  Residents are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings.  Uncertified firewood and other regulated articles are currently prohibited from leaving the regulated areas.  For more information about the beetle and program activities, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov or www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com  or call the New York ALB Eradication Program directly at 1-866-265-0301.

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APHIS is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write:  APHIS, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call  (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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