The state Department of Environmental Conservation is once again enlisting swimming pool owners in Queens and elsewhere to help in the fight to eradicate the Asian longhorned beetle from the state.
The invasive insects, first recorded in the United States in 1996, bore holes into hardwood trees such as maple, birch and willow. They are blamed for killing hundreds of thousands of trees in the country since their accidental introduction.
The state every August — the bugs are most active in late summer — asks swimming pool owners to periodically check their filters to see if they contain the remains of the 1.5-inch insects that are black with white spots and long antennae.
They are asked to either email a photo of a suspect insect to state forestry officials at email@example.com, or to mail the insects themselves to the DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere.
They are believed to have been eliminated in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, but are active on central Long Island and in the Northeast.
“Most invasive forest pest infestations have been discovered and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital tool for protecting our urban and rural forests,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a press release.
“Swimming pool monitoring is a simple, economical approach to surveying for Asian longhorned beetles and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting the trees in their yards and communities.”