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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: July 23, 2009
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

NORTHEAST FOREST PEST OUTREACH AND SURVEY PROJECT TO LOOK FOR SIGNS OF ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE IN CITY OF WARWICK

PROVIDENCE - Through a cooperative effort with the USDA and Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the Department of Environmental Management is coordinating a comprehensive outreach and detection program for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) in the City of Warwick. ALB is an invasive insect that came to the United States in wooden shipping crates from China and Korea more than 10 years ago. It affects hardwood shade trees such as maple, ash, birch, willow and elm by boring into the core of the tree and eventually killing it. This beetle has the potential of wiping out thousands of Warwick's trees if it goes undetected.

DEM has identified the City of Warwick for this survey because of the large level of industry and enterprise in the area. The ALB Survey will take place from August 1-31 in residential and industrial areas in the vicinity of Warwick Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard. DEM has contracted with the RI Tree Council to provide technical assistance with the state's outreach and survey activities, which are designed to inform the public and keep the state ALB-free.

Survey participants will be easily identifiable, dressed in brightly-colored "ALB Survey" shirts, and will be inspecting the top portion of hardwood trees using binoculars. They will be looking for signs of ALB, such as egg-laying sites and exit holes. If a survey participant needs access to private property, they will request permission from the home or business owner. Survey participants have no interest in entering homes and would like to inspect the hardwood trees only.

August is Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month in RI

August is Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month in Rhode Island, and residents are encouraged to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of ALB.

The beetle is large, ranging from 0.75 - 1.25 inches in length with very long black and white antennae. The body is glossy black with irregular white spots. The distinctive antennae that give the beetle its common name are as long as the body itself in females, and almost twice the body length in males. Adult ALB emerge from late spring to early fall and feed on tree bark and tender twigs. During its larval stage, the ALB bores deep in the tree's heartwood, where it feeds on the tree's nutrients. This tunneling damages and eventually kills the tree. The adult ALB then chews its way out of the tree the next summer, leaving perfectly round exit holes that are approximately 1 cm (3/8") in diameter.

Signs of ALB infestation include perfectly round, dime-sized exit holes; frass, a sawdust-like material comprised of tree shaving and insect waste; and oozing sap. Dead and dying tree limbs or branches and yellowing leaves in areas where there has been no drought may also be a sign of ALB. Research indicates this beetle can survive and reproduce in most sections of the country where suitable host trees exist.

Residents are asked to call the toll-free ALB hotline at 866-702-9938 to report any possible sightings of ALB. For further information, contact Kate Sayles from RI Tree at 764-5885 or via e-mail at albfreeri@gmail.com, or Liz Lopes-Duguay of DEM at 640-4509 or via email at liz.lopesduguay@dem.ri.gov. Information on ALB is also available on the DEM website at www.dem.ri.gov.

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