|(TRENTON) – A public outreach session on the Asian longhorned beetle
will be held Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at the
Rahway City Library, 2 City Hall Plaza, to inform
residents about the expanded quarantine zone and
the need to take down approximately 1,400 trees
as a result of that expansion.
“The new quarantine zone will result in more trees being removed, but it
is imperative that this be done to prevent the spread of this destructive, invasive
pest,” New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus said. “No
one likes to see trees cut down, but the eradication method of removing high-risk
host trees near infested trees has been proven effective. As with the other trees
that have been removed in this infestation and in the earlier Jersey City infestation,
these trees will be replaced with varieties the beetle will not infest.”
The Asian longhorned beetle was first found in the border area of Middlesex and
Union counties last August by a Carteret resident who noticed one of the insects
on a tree in his yard. That discovery led to more in the area, and a quarantine
zone was established that covered parts of Carteret and Woodbridge in Middlesex
County, as well as Rahway and Linden in Union County. Approximately 4,000 trees
were slated to be cut down in that original quarantine zone. More than 1,500
already have been removed. In the quarantine area, there are restrictions on
the movement of firewood and other materials in which the beetle could be hiding.
An infested tree found in Rahway in November near the western border of the previously
existing quarantine zone created the need to expand the boundaries. Because the
tree had not only egg sites but also exit holes, the quarantine was expanded
by an additional quarter-mile.
Survey crews are now examining the trees in that additional area to determine
how many, if any, are infested. However, high-risk host trees within the quarter-mile
area must be removed to ensure the beetle’s eradication.
The beetle, native to China and Korea, infests a variety of hardwood trees, including
maples, birches horsechestnut, poplar, willow, elm, ash and black locust. The
beetle will not infest oaks, evergreens and a variety of others, which will be
used as replacement trees for those cut down.
After hatching from an egg site scratched into the bark by its mother, the beetle
burrows into the tree, eventually tunneling through the heartwood. It then metamorphoses
into an adult and chews its way back out of the tree. The insect was first detected
in New Jersey in 2002 in Jersey City. It was first discovered in the United States
in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. The infestation in Middlesex and Union
counties is believed to be about six years old, and recent DNA tests have shown
the beetles there to be a separate introduction from the one that occurred in
The beetle is between 1 and 1½ inches long, is black with white spots
and has long antennae that are banded black and white. Anyone suspecting the
presence of this beetle should call the New Jersey Department of Agriculture
at 1-866-BEETLE-1 or (609) 292-5440. For more information about the March 10
public session, please call (609) 292-5531. For the latest information on the
Department's Asian longhorned beetle eradication efforts, visit www.state.nj.us/agriculture/alblinks.htm.