Non-Native Beetles Have Potential to Devastate State Forests

Sep 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Preservation

Governor Urges Heightened Awareness to Prevent Infestation, Cautions against Transporting Firewood When Camping

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has reminded residents and visitors to be aware of the serious threat that non-native beetles pose to thousands of acres of Connecticut forests, particularly those with stands of maples, birches, elms and willows.

The governor urged residents to be on the lookout for the Asian Longhorned beetle (ALB) and the Emerald Ash borer (EAB). Both are highly destructive and invasive forest pests.

Asian Longhorned Beetle (contributed)

ALB is a large black beetle with white spots, it ranges between an inch to 1 ¼ inches long. Adults can be seen from late spring to fall.

“The Asian Longhorned beetle has no natural enemies and there is no effective insecticide to control it,” Governor Rell said. “Once a tree is attacked, the only remedy is to cut it down. It has the potential for more damage than infestations by gypsy moths, Dutch elm disease and the chestnut blight combined. We must remain alert and take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of an infestation.”

Emerald Ash borer (contributed)

The Emerald Ash borer is much smaller and harder to detect. This emerald green beetle spends most of its destructive stage in larva form just under the bark of Ash trees. The insect was recently discovered 30 miles to Connecticut’s west in Saugerties, New York. EAB adults are dark green, one-half inch in length and one-eighth inch wide, and fly only from early May until September. Visual signs or symptoms of infestation include D-shaped holes, bark splits, and crown die. White ash is most prominent in the northwest corner of Connecticut, the very southwest corner, and east central sections of Connecticut.

“With the arrival of the Emerald ash borer in New York, we are asking Connecticut residents to contact our Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station or the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) immediately if they suspect signs or symptoms of any infestations,” Governor Rell said. (The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s toll-free number is 1-877-855-2237. DEP can be reached at 860-424-3000.)

About 60 percent of Connecticut is covered in forests, approximately 1.8 million acres. The 107 state parks and 32 state forests are popular recreation destinations and the half-billion-dollar forest products industry, including lumber and maple syrup, generate thousands of jobs.

“Prevention is the key to keeping our forests and trees safe,” Governor Rell said. “A key message is `don’t move firewood.’ Don’t bring firewood from other states into Connecticut, because this can spread the beetle infestation. If you are headed to a campground or cabin, buy and burn all your firewood there. Do not carry it back home.”

Governor Rell last year directed the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to work with the business community to stress the importance of enforcing standards for the importation of goods.

“We must be sure unprocessed raw wood is not being used for packing material and pallets used in shipping,” the Governor said. “There are new international standards regarding this practice and they need to be enforced to prevent the spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle.”

Governor Rell has again designated August as “Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month” in the State of Connecticut.

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