ALB was first detected in North America on Norway, silver and sugar maples and horse chestnut trees in Brooklyn in 1996. It was subsequently found in Manhattan and Staten Island, as well as in Amityville and Islip on Long Island. ALB was also discovered in Chicago in 1998, in Jersey City in 2002, in Carteret, N.J., in 2004, in Worcester, Mass., in 2008, in Boston in 2010 and in Tate Township, Ohio, in 2011.
The insect was declared eradicated from the Chicago area and from Hudson County (Jersey City), N.J., in 2008, from Islip in 2011, and from Manhattan and Staten Island earlier this year. Nonetheless, a quarantine area in New York still remains for 58 square miles of Queens, 28 square miles of Brooklyn and 23 square miles of Nassau and Suffolk counties. In a recent statement made by State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine, “the stakes are high but make no mistake. We are winning the fight against ALB in New York.”
In March of this year, New Jersey officials acknowledged eradication there had been successful, too. ALB has never been spotted in the Bronx or in New York State north of the city.
Early detection and rapid tree removal are crucial to the successful eradication of ALB. Currently, the only effective means of control is to remove infested trees as well as trees within the area of infestation that might host the beetle and chip or burn them. According to Paul J. Kurtz, the entomologist who led the successful eradication in the Garden State, only 11 infested trees were discovered in Linden, N.J., but 14,894, including many saplings, were removed.
Research at Cornell University’s Department of Entomology continues on developing new approaches for biological controls for ALB. The methodology is similar to that used to control a closely related orchard pest in Japan and involves the use of fiber bands permeated with a long-lasting insect pathogenic fungus placed around host trees. It is believed that adult beetles that come into contact with the fungal spores transfer the infection when mating. Infected females are able to lay only very few eggs before dying.
More information is available from your Extension office. Information about the ban on firewood movement can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html.
Richard L. Gast, Extension program educator II, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy, agriculture programs assistant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Phone 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or email email@example.com.