WASHINGTON, March 19, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing its plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio in 2020.
“Just last year we declared eradication of ALB from Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, ending the city’s 23-year-long battle with the beetle,” said Osama El-Lissy, APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine Deputy Administrator. “This year, we’ve mapped out a sound strategy that will further our efforts to eliminate this pest from the remaining areas of this country where it still has a foothold.”
Every year, APHIS evaluates and determines the most effective options to achieve ALB eradication. In 2020, the ALB program will focus on inspecting trees in quarantined areas in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, and removing infested trees at no cost to property owners. The program will not apply insecticide treatments this year. In addition, program officials will monitor for the beetle’s presence inside and around each area, respond to service calls, conduct training sessions for compliance agreement holders, and perform outreach.
Businesses and individuals who need to move regulated items, such as firewood (all hardwood species), nursery stock, logs, branches, etc., out of a quarantined area must obtain a compliance agreement, permit, or certificate according to federal and state laws. Businesses such as tree or landscape services that work on regulated articles in any quarantined area must enter into a compliance agreement with the ALB eradication program in their state. Before entering into an agreement, you need to attend a free compliance training. To register for a training, please call your local office:
Residents in an ALB-quarantined area can help by:
Currently, 219.5 square miles are under quarantine for ALB in the United States: 53 square miles in central Long Island, New York; 110 square miles in Worcester County, Massachusetts, which includes all of the Cities of Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury and a portion of the Towns of Holden and Auburn; and 56.5 square miles in Clermont County, Ohio, including East Fork State Park, Tate Township and a portion of Williamsburg Township. The ALB program has successfully eradicated ALB from Illinois (2008); New Jersey (2013); Brooklyn and Queens (2019), Manhattan and Staten Island (2013), and Islip (2011) in New York; Boston (2014) in Massachusetts; and Stonelick and Monroe Townships (2018) in Ohio.
ALB is a destructive insect that kills many hardwood tree species. The damage ALB causes compromises a tree’s structural integrity and makes the tree dangerous for people to be around. If ALB were to become established in the United States, it could become one of the most devastating and costly invasive species ever to enter the country. The beetle threatens urban and suburban shade trees, recreational resources such as parks, forest resources and wildlife. ALB could also impact industries such as maple syrup production, hardwood lumber processing, tree nurseries and tourism. 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.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). Please join APHIS to help protect the world’s crops, forests, gardens, and landscapes against invasive pests. Learn more by visiting www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/2020.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.