DEC seeks pool owners to track invasive beetle

— Photo from NYSDEC

From now until swimming pools are closed for the season, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is asking pool owners to periodically check their filters for Asian longhorned beetles.

During late summer, Asian longhorned beetles — an invasive species — emerge as adults and are active outside of their host tree.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation wants to locate infestations of the beetles before they cause serious damage to the state’s forests and street trees.

So the department is asking people who own swimming pools to participate in the DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey.

“The best opportunity to eradicate and limit the spread of invasive species is by finding infestations early, when populations are low,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release, seeking volunteers. “Swimming-pool monitoring is a simple, economical approach to surveying for these pests and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting their communities.”

From now until swimming pools are closed for the season, the DEC is asking pool owners to periodically check their filters for insects that resemble the beetle, and report suspects either by emailing photos to or mailing insects to DEC's Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attention: Liam Somers.

People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of Asian longhorned beetles in their communities. The beetle:

— Is about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and has black and white antennae;

— Leaves perfectly round exit holes about the size of a dime in branches and trunks of host trees; and

— Creates sawdust-like material called frass that collects on branches and around the base of trees.

The wood-boring beetles native to Asia were accidentally introduced to the United States through wood-packing materials. They attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows, among others, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country, according to the DEC.

The State Department of Agriculture and Markets has worked to manage infestations in New York, successfully eradicating them from Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Queens. The beetle is still actively managed in central Long Island, and there are active infestations in Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Carolina.

For more information on the ALB Swimming Pool Survey and ALB, including biology and identification tools, visit the DEC’s website.

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