Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752
May 14, 2013
Department of Agriculture and Markets Announces Eradication of the Asian Longhorned Beetle from Manhattan and Staten Island
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today announced that trees in Manhattan and Staten Island have been declared free of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), an invasive species that was first detected in the U.S. from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in 1996. ALB destroys many species of hardwood trees, including maple, ash, birch, elm, horse chestnut, poplar and willow. As a result of this announcement, wood can now move freely out of the previously regulated areas in Manhattan and Staten Island.
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, “The stakes are high, but make no mistake – we are winning the fight against ALB in New York. This announcement is indeed exciting news for not only Staten Island and Manhattan, but for all New York because it proves what can be done when dedicated efforts are made to combat invasive species. I thank Governor Cuomo and our partners at all levels of government for their concerted effort in the ALB eradication program.”
Now that Manhattan and Staten Island have been declared ALB free, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets will rescind the quarantine in both boroughs, reducing the regulated area from 135 to 109 square miles.
The ALB was previously eradicated from Chicago, IL and Hudson County, NJ in 2008, Islip, NY in 2011 and the State of New Jersey in April 2013. With this declaration, only Brooklyn, Queens and Central Long Island remain in the regulated area within New York’s boundaries. ALB also still remains in Massachusetts and Ohio. Department of Agriculture and Markets inspectors continue to work with counterparts in all levels of government with the overarching goal of permanent eradication of this invasive species from New York State.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, "Eradicating invasive species takes incredible teamwork and cooperation. The heavy ALB infestation found at Prall’s Island was an imminent threat to all of Staten Island. DEC was glad to be able to implement the rapid response necessary to eliminate that threat in cooperation with NYC Parks, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. Together, we were able to carry out this difficult job safely and effectively, and stem the flow of ALB into New York."
The Asian longhorned beetle was first detected in the United States in 1996 in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y. It spread from Asia in solid wood packaging material that was used for imported cargo. It has the potential to cause multi-billion dollar losses in industries that depend on wood and its by-products, such as lumber, maple syrup, nursery and tourism. Damage from the beetle also has the potential to destroy wildlife habitats, disrupt the ecosystem, and destroy host trees in yards, neighborhoods and communities.
The ALB is 1 to 1 ½ inches long and easy to spot. It is shiny black with white spots and has exceptionally long antennae banded in black and white. The worm-like larvae cause tree destruction by boring into trees and feeding on living tissue. Signs of infestation include perfectly round, dime-sized holes from the exiting adult beetle, oozing sap, and sawdust-like buildup on the ground or tree limbs.
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