LIVINGSTON COUNTY – This exotic looking, invasive, tree-killing beetle is being hunted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and they invite pool owners to help.
According to a press release from the DEC, the fourth annual Asian longhorned beetle swimming pool survey will run from from July 24 to August 30, and pool owners can help in taking photos and sending bugs in to scientists before they damage more of New York State’s trees.
“The Citizen Pool Survey takes place this time of year, when Asian longhorned beetles are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting and become active outside those trees,” said the DEC. “Asian longhorned beetles are originally from Asia and have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of trees across the nation, particularly in maple trees in New York City, on Long Island, in New Jersey, Chicago, Illinois, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Clermont, Ohio.”
DEC’s Forest Health Program developed a survey for homeowners who have swimming pools that helps track the beetles.
With citizens involved in looking for this invasive species, there is a better chance of finding new infestations early, helping DEC and other state and federal agencies focus their efforts to eliminate infestations.
In addition to owning a swimming pool, participants will also need a digital camera, an e-mail address, and be able to send a photo via email or text message.
Those without a pool can still help. DEC expanded its photo collection to include anyone who spots a suspect beetle, whether it is found in their pool or not. Residents are also encouraged to submit photos if there is suspicion of an Emerald Ash Borer (see what it looks like here) or another invasive pest damaging trees. Photos can be submitted to the forest health program by emailing email@example.com.
Directions for participating in the pool survey are outlined below:
Step 1: Starting in the last week of July, through the last week of August (when adults are active), at least once a week, or when you clean your pool, check the debris collected in your filter and skimmers.
Step 2: Look for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) (See what it looks like on DEC’s ALB web page). Contact the Forest Health Program (see phone number and email address below) and we will provide a sheet to help identify insects collected.
Step 3: Take a picture of any insect you think might be an ALB.
Step 4: Send the photos of the insects that look like ALB to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 6: Freeze the insect in a plastic container until DEC staff respond (typically that will be about a week). Staff will either instruct you to discard the insect or give instructions on mailing it, delivering it, or arranging for pick-up.
“Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical alternative to traditional procedures for surveying Asian longhorned beetles in the state,” said the DEC. “It also has the potential to become New York’s most effective method for detecting the beetles. In addition, this monitoring program gives residents the ability to take an active role in protecting trees in their yards, communities and forests.”
To sign up for the survey, contact Jessica Cancelliere with the NYSDEC Forest Health Program at email@example.com or (518) 478-7813.