DEC seeks help tracking Asian beetles in swimming pools

Pool owners are invited to join the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in its second annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) swimming pool survey now through Aug. 30 in order to help keep watch for these exotic, invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to forests and street trees.

The Citizen Pool Survey takes place this time of year, when the beetles are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting, and become active outside those trees.

Originally from Asia, they have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the nation, particularly in maple trees in New York City; on Long Island; in New Jersey; Chicago, Ill.; Worcester, Mass.; and Clermont, Ohio.

Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical alternative to traditional procedures for surveying ALBs in the state, according to a release from the DEC. It also has the potential to become New York’s most effective method for detecting ALBs.  In addition, this monitoring program gives residents the ability to take an active role in protecting trees in their yards, communities, and forests. 

With citizens involved in looking for this pest, there is a better chance of finding new infestations early, which will help DEC and other state and federal agencies focus their efforts to eliminate infestations. 

In addition to a owning a swimming pool, participants will need a digital camera; an e-mail address that is actively used (if they want to receive updates from DEC); and the ability to upload a photograph and send it via e-mail.

Those without a pool can still help.  This year, the 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 or another invasive pest damaging native ash trees.  Photos may be submitted to: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html.   

How to help

Directions for participating in the pool survey are outlined below:

— Step 1: From July 23 to Aug. 30 (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 ALB.  Once an e-mail is provided, a sheet will be sent to you to help identify insects collected.  See: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7255.html;

— Step 3: Take a picture of any insect you think might be an ALB; 

— Step 4: Once a week, send a photo of the insect that looks most like an ALB.  The DEC would like to hear from you once a week; 

— Step 5: Send the photo to foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us;

— 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. 

To sign up for the survey, please contact: NYSDEC Forest Health Program, Attention: Jessica Cancelliere; e-mail foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us; or call 810-1609.

For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7255.html.

 

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