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Gearing Up for Invasive Beetles
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The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is proposing regulations to control infestations of two invasive insect species that destroy trees. The insects haven’t been found yet in Connecticut, but one of them is getting close.

The Asian Long-horned beetle kills maples, birches, poplars and Chestnut trees. Just as the name implies the Emerald Ash borer, which has been found in the Midwest, kills ash trees. Both insects arrived in the US in infested wooden pallets used to transport goods from Asia.

The Asian Long horned Beetle has been found in Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens, New York as well as Chicago and New Jersey. But the biggest infestation is in Worcester, Massachusetts where the insect has been found in 26 thousand trees. The southern edge of that infestation is only about 20 miles from the Connecticut border. That’s why the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is proposing regulations that would prohibit the movement of firewood or timber should it get infested with these insects.

Experiment Station Director Louis Magnarelli:

 “I think it’s a wise decision to get the regulations in place in the event that we have an infestation we can move very quickly and acting on suppressing or controlling the pest.”

If the state of Connecticut does not establish its own regulations the federal government could impose a quarantine on the entire state, if there were an infestation. If Connecticut has its own regulations in place it could restrict the movement of wood in specific areas. A public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held at the end of this month. 


View photos of the USDA inspecting trees in Worcester, MA for signs of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in December 15, 2008.

All photos by Chion Wolf.