Monday, July 6, 2009

Deadly beetle discovered for first time in New York, threatening state's ash trees

Cornell University News: The deadly invasive emerald ash borer -- a beetle that destroys ash trees -- has been discovered for the first time in New York state by Cornell researchers. "The threat is extreme," said E. Richard Hoebeke, a senior extension associate in entomology at Cornell. "There is the potential for ash as we know it to be extirpated from the landscape."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Washington, D.C., announced official identification of the beetle in New York state June 18 after receiving and examining specimens sent by Cornell researchers earlier this week.

The flying Asian beetle was discovered in ash trees near Randolph in Cattaraugus County in southwestern New York. The state has some 900 million ash trees, representing about 7 percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk should this invasive pest become established.

The beetle -- which has metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen and is small enough to fit on a penny -- was first discovered in the United States in Michigan in 2002 and has since decimated more than 70 million ash trees in 13 Midwestern states and Pennsylvania, as well as many in southern Ontario in Canada. The beetle's larvae girdle under a tree's bark, killing the tree in one to three years….

An adult emerald ash borer, US Department of Agriculture

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