USDA Treats Trees in New Jersey for Asian Longhorned Beetles
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will treat approximately 20,200 trees susceptible to the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Middlesex and Union counties, N.J. Operating with a $12 million 2005 budget for efforts in New Jersey, APHIS officials began the treatments in mid?May, as a critical part of its ongoing ALB cooperative eradication program’s effort to prevent further infestation of this destructive pest.
The trees will be treated with the insecticide imidacloprid, which has displayed promising results in past treatments. APHIS will treat trees in portions of the quarantine that covers parts of the Borough of Carteret, and the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township in Middlesex County, and the cities of Rahway and Linden in Union County. Program officials plan to treat approximately 1,970 trees in Carteret; 6,890 in Woodbridge; 3,800 in Rahway; and 7,540 in Linden.
Program officials, through the use of certified pesticide applicator contractors, will administer the treatments by either injecting the insecticide into the tree through small capsules placed at the base of the tree’s trunk or by injecting it into the soil surrounding the tree. Each site will be closely monitored.
The insecticide is dispersed through the tree’s vascular system. This enables the insecticide to reach ALB adults feeding on small twigs and leaves and the larvae feeding beneath the bark of host trees. Imidacloprid is currently used by some lawn service companies to kill lawn grubs and in some domestic pet treatments to kill fleas.
The larvae of the ALB bore into healthy hardwood trees and feed on living tree tissue and heartwood. Later, throughout the summer, adult beetles emerge from exit holes and briefly feed on the leaves and small twigs of host trees. To fight this destructive invader, agriculture officials are removing more than 8,000 trees in the Middlesex and Union counties ALB quarantine area.
APHIS and its cooperators undertake eradication by imposing quarantines, conducting intensified visual inspections around confirmed sites to delimit infestations, remove infested and high-risk exposed host trees and chemically treat host trees as part of an area-wide integrated pest management strategy. The goal is to eliminate this destructive insect from New Jersey before it can establish itself elsewhere.
Residents can assist in the eradication effort by allowing project officials access to their property to treat trees. For more information on the treatment program, call (732) 815-0140. The public can also help by looking for ALB, which is about 1 to 1.5 inches long, has a shiny jet black body with distinctive white spots and long antennae that are banded with black and white. To report a sighting of this insect, call 1-866-BEETLE!.
USDA’s APHIS, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service, New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection participate in the ALB cooperative eradication program. For more information, visit the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/alb.
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