NY, NJ Trees Treated for Killer Beetles

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Nearly 80,000 trees in New Jersey and New York are being treated to protect them from a deadly beetle infestation. The Asian longhorned beetle has destroyed more than 30,000 trees since it arrived in the country about a decade ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said treatments began last week around New York City. They’ll start April 21 on Staten Island and in New Jersey’s Middlesex and Union Counties, where the beetles were discovered in 2002.

If unchecked, the invasive species could threaten the nation’s lumber, maple syrup and tourism industries, according to the Agriculture Department.

The Asian longhorned beetle first appeared in New York City in 1996, after apparently hitching a ride from China in the wood of shipping crates. Subsequent infestations in New Jersey were discovered in 2002 and 2004.

Agriculture Department spokeswoman Suzanne Bond said the agency has been treating trees since 2001 to eradicate the beetle from the continent.

The beetles measure about one to one-and-a-half inches long and have a shiny black exterior with white spots. They attack hardwood trees like maple, willow, ash, poplar and elm, usually in the early summer when the female makes an indentation in the bark and plants eggs.

To kill off the beetles, workers inject tree trunks and soil during the spring with an insecticide called imidacloprid, which is also used to kill lawn grubs and pet fleas. The chemical makes its way into the leaves during the summer, which are eaten by newborn beetles emerging from the bark.


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