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NJDA, USDA Start Asian Long-Horned Beetle Survey
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Three-Year Effort Begins in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic & Union Counties
For Immediate Release: November 29, 2001 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has combined forces with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection & Quarantine (USDA/APHIS/PPQ) to survey trees in four northeastern counties for signs of the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB). This year's survey includes most of Bergen, all of Hudson, northeastern Union and southeastern Passaic Counties. Sites in Middlesex, Monmouth and Morris Counties will be added to the survey next year.

The survey counties fall within a 25-mile radius of the area in Manhattan already under USDA quarantine for ALB infestation. The counties have been divided into one-mile-square areas within which nine sites approximately 1,000 feet apart have been biometrically (not randomly) selected. During the three-year effort, when trees are not snow- or leaf-covered and as weather conditions permit, two-person teams of trained inspectors will visit specific sites within the survey area. If there is no host tree on the pre-selected site, inspectors will try to locate the closest host tree. They will conduct a visual inspection of the tree from the ground for signs of ALB infestation. To date, the pest has not been found in New Jersey although it has already caused serious tree loss in New York State and Chicago, Illinois, where a similar state-federal survey is already under way. The black-and-white ALB is quite large and very destructive to hardwood trees, favoring all kinds of maples, horsechestnuts, poplars, willows, and elms. To lay her eggs, the female chews small oval or round niches in the outer bark of the tree. When the immature worm-like beetles hatch, they bore into trunks and branches and create immense tunnels for themselves inside the trees. The adult beetles chew their way out, usually in late spring or early summer, leaving round exit holes about the size of a dime in their wake. The beetle is native to China and prevalent in Japan and Korea where no preventative or curative chemical treatment is used to eliminate the pest. Instead, hardwood growers plant trap plots of the insect's favorites and harvest and destroy the trap trees to prevent the beetle from spreading to the cash crop of trees. The beetle's extremely destructive habits could have potentially devastating economic consequences for New Jersey's nursery industry if it were to take hold in the state in addition to the tremendous losses which could be suffered in residential areas as well as forested areas of the state where its primary host trees are found. Since 1997, NJDA, USDA/APHIS/PPQ and NJDEP's Bureau of Forestry have done annual surveys for the pest in the northernmost part of Monmouth County, the southeastern half of Sussex County, most of Middlesex County and all of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties. These surveys have found no sign of ALB infestation.

For additional information on the pest or the survey, call Tom Denholm, New Jersey survey coordinator, at 609-292-6590, or visit USDA's website, www.aphis.usda.gov.