Pool owners: It’s time to look for invasive Asian longhorned beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle from New York State Department Environmental Conservation by Jessica Cancelliere
Asian longhorned beetle. Photo courtesy Jessica Cancelliere of NYSDEC Forest Health Program

It’s again time for pool owners to check their filters and skimmers for the Asian longhorned beetle. If you find one, please report it during the fourth annual Citizen Pool Survey being held through Aug. 30 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

If you don’t have a pool, you can still help. DEC expanded its survey to include photo submissions from anyone who spots a suspect beetle, even if the beetle isn’t found in a pool.

The Asian longhorned beetle is an exotic, invasive beetle that can cause serious damage to our forests and street trees.

This is the time of year when ALBs are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting and become active outside those trees.

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

Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical alternative to traditional procedures for detecting ALBs in New York State and may become New York’s most effective method. 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.

How to participate in the swimming pool survey:

Step 1: From now through Aug. 30 (when the adult ALBs 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. See what it looks like on DEC’s ALB web page. To get a sheet to help identify insects collected, contact Jessica Cancelliere at the Forest Health Program at foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or (518) 478-7813.

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. (DEC would like to hear from you once a week.) Send the photo to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov.

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.

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