Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752|
May 25, 2017
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Announces Eastern Queens Deregulation from Asian Longhorned Beetle Restrictions
Quarantine Restricting the Movement of Asian Longhorned Beetle Regulated Materials is Lifted
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the quarantine restricting the movement of Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) regulated materials has been lifted in Eastern Queens. The Department released the area from the restrictions after a final survey of properties in the area was completed in February 2017 with the last detection of ALB in 2005, more than a decade ago. Lifting the quarantine in this 28 square mile area, which stretches from the Nassau County border to the Van Wyck Expressway, will ease regulatory burdens on nursery dealers and growers and other businesses, including landscaping companies, transfer stations, and general contractors as well as private citizens.
Commissioner Ball said, “The ALB is a destructive invasive pest that has caused the loss of over 23,000 trees in the downstate area. The Department has been working diligently to eradicate ALB and today’s announcement that we have lifted the quarantine in Eastern Queens is welcome news for the horticulture and other industries who depend on the movement of hardwood trees and materials. We are pleased to be one step closer to deregulating all of New York City and Long Island.”
ALB, which is a dangerous pest of hardwood trees with the potential to cause significant economic and environmental impacts if allowed to spread, was first detected in the eastern portion of Queens in February, 1999. To prevent the spread of this non-native insect, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets established a quarantine, along with quarantines for other portions of New York City and Long Island, which restrict the movement of ALB-regulated materials without proper permits.
As part of the eradication program, the Department took an aggressive approach of survey (both ground and tree climbing), treatment and removal to combat the beetle’s spread. The last infested tree detected in Eastern Queens was December of 2005. The final survey of all properties in the area was completed in February of 2017. With the regulations now lifted in Eastern Queens, the ALB quarantine for New York City has been reduced from 86 square miles to 58 square miles.
The New York Cooperative ALB Eradication Program is continuing its efforts to eradicate ALB from New York with staff actively surveying in Western Queens, Brooklyn and Central Long Island. Quarantines in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island were lifted in 2013. Islip, Long Island was declared free of ALB in 2011.
In order to ensure no other areas of New York are harboring infestation, inspectors work outside the quarantine boundaries on a regular basis to target and inspect businesses and areas considered at high risk for infestation. The inspectors visit campgrounds, importers, freight rail lines and industrial parks. Inspectors also conduct biometric surveys, which include survey of random points in pre-determined grids. In 2016, they accessed 214 establishments and surveyed 2,508 host trees and found no other ALB infestations.
In addition, the inspectors also work with local tree companies, landscapers and garden centers to train and educate them about ALB and how to handle and properly disposal of host material. Once trained, the companies enter into a compliance agreement with the Department. There are currently 1,014 ALB compliance agreement holders in New York.
“While the deregulation of Eastern Queens from Asian Longhorned Beetle restrictions is a victory in the fight to eliminate this insect, we ask that residents of New York stay vigilant in checking their trees regularly for signs of the beetle,” said Josie Ryan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national operations manager for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program. “We look forward to the day when we can declare all of New York City free from this beetle.”
The Asian Longhorned Beetle is native to China, Japan and Korea. The invasive insect was likely transported via packing materials used for international shipping. The first infestation was discovered in Brooklyn in 1996. For more information about the beetle and program activities, please call the ALB toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or visit https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/PI/alb.html.
About the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
The Department, through its various divisions and programs, promotes New York agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the State’s food supply, land, plants and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York’s agriculture industries.
The Department operates the Great New York State Fair, and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and New York State Grown and Certified programs. Follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
2017 Press Releases