Group hopes to put blitz on beetles to prevent an invasion in the state
Forest-health experts fear that an exotic pest called the Asian longhorned beetle, which made its way into the U.S. in wooden packing crates from China more than a decade ago and has devastated trees in Worcester, Mass., could move into New Hampshire.
To forestall an infestation, the state’s Forest Pest Advisory Committee has planned a “beetle blitz” this summer and fall to raise public awareness and recruit citizen volunteers to monitor forest and landscape trees for signs of the insect.
“So far, we haven’t found ALB in New Hampshire,” said UNH Cooperative Extension entomologist Stan Swier. “But last summer, the beetle was discovered in Worcester, Mass. State and federal officials have mounted a massive eradication program there, expected to last many years and to cost tens of millions of dollars.”
By federal estimates, more than 25,000 trees have been cut down and chipped in Worcester in an attempt to contain the infestation there.
The New Hampshire “beetle blitz” begins with meetings Tuesday in Manchester and Tuesday, Aug. 25, in Portsmouth, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Volunteers can sign up to join specific groups for the survey in their community. Each group will survey for ALB the following Saturday morning by inspecting suitable host trees within a specifically designated grid area for that group.
Cooperative Extension staff will follow up the initial meetings with similar workshops in each of the state’s 10 counties over the fall and winter, as well as with a series of train-the-trainer meetings for garden club members, master gardeners, community tree stewards and others.
For more information, visit http://extension.unh.edu/ALB/.