VIDEO from Synaptic Digital and USDA: Public Asked to Spot and Report Asian Longhorned Beetle

August 3, 2010

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ — The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is on the march. Its target: the nation’s hardwood trees that provide beauty, shade and privacy for all citizens. To highlight the issue, August has been proclaimed “National Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month.” Federal and state agencies are asking the public to help protect trees and forests by actively checking for and reporting signs of this beetle.

See video from USDA at: http://inr.synapticdigital.com/USDA_37505

The ALB, an invasive species, has killed tens of thousands of trees – including ash, birch, elm, horse chestnut, maple, poplar, willow and more – throughout the Eastern United States. If the ALB were to become widely established, it would cause billions of dollars in economic losses to industries such as timber, recreation and tourism.

Discovered in 1996 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the ALB most likely entered the United States inside solid wood-packing material from Asia. Since then, it has worked its way from New York to parts of New Jersey and Massachusetts. In July 2010, the ALB was found for the first time in the city of Boston.

“We need the public’s help if we are to have any hope of stopping the spread of this destructive insect,” said Rhonda Santos, public information officer, United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “Once infested, trees are starved of critical nutrients, are weakened and will eventually die.”

According to Santos, the beetle is easy to spot. “It’s about one to one-and-a-half inches long, has a shiny black body with white spots and long black-and-white striped antennae.”

The damage caused by the ALB is also easy to identify. “Adult beetles chew perfectly round, dime-sized holes as they exit the tree,” Santos continued. “And excessive sawdust-like buildup on tree branches or the ground, which is created as larvae feed inside the tree, is also a sign of infestation.”

Once a sighting is made, individuals should immediately call their state’s plant health director or report it on www.beetlebusters.info . Federal and state agencies are particularly asking communities to be on the lookout for any signs of the ALB through fall, before the first frost.

Unfortunately, humans have played a big part in the beetle’s spread and are often how this invasive pest is introduced to new areas. “People unintentionally move the beetle when they do seemingly innocent activities like gathering and transporting firewood in their vehicles,” explained Santos. “We ask that you burn firewood where you buy it. And it’s critical not to move wood from any currently infested or regulated areas.”

To date, there is no solution for eradicating the ALB. For more information, to see photos of the ALB and tree damage, get updates on areas under quarantine, and learn how to report sightings, visit www.beetlebusters.info.

Registered journalists can access video, audio, text, graphics and photos at http://www.thenewsmarket.com.


SOURCE Synaptic Digital; USDA

Source: newswire

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