Asian beetle poses new threat to New York trees

Aug 24, 2016

With New York's population of ash trees under siege against an invasive species, environmental officials are working to stop the invasion of another wood-eating pest.

Pool owners can help the DEC by looking for the Asian Longhorned Beetle in filters and traps.

A native of Japan, China and Korea, the Asian Longhorned Beetle has been found in the New York City area.

"Our fear is that it's going to come out of these urban areas and into Upstate into the Catskills or Adirondacks and wreak havoc. This is a wood-boring insect that kills hardwood trees, primarily maples," said Jessica Cancelliere of the New York  State Department of Conservation.

Officials are trying to track the beetle as it likely continues to spread. For that effort, Cancelliere is reaching out to pool owners.

"We ask that when they clean out their filter and, you know, some people dump the contents on the ground. We just ask that they inspect those contents and look for anything resembling the Asian Longhorned Beetle. And then take a photograph of anything suspicious and e-mail it to our lab. "

Though the pest consumes only live trees, the beetle could be transported in piles of firewood. The emergence of the Asian Longhormed Beetle is another reminder to residents of the consequences of moving firewood outside their respective communities.

"In Buffalo, you'd have to worry more about street trees. Many of the streets are lined with beautiful hardwood trees," Cancelliere said. 

"Just like what's happened with the Emerald Ash Borer in towns where the streets are lined with ash trees, all these trees would eventually die if they were to become infested."