‘Tis the season for creepy crawlers in the northeast, and New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) needs your help identifying and locating an invasive beetle species.

The state is asking New York residents who own swimming pools to participate in the DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey during the month of August.

Asian Longhorned Beetles (ALB) emerge as adults and are most active outside their host trees, the DEC said. The goal of the survey is to locate infestations before they cause serious damage to the state’s forests and trees.

If you’re a swimming pool owner, check your filters periodically for insects that resemble ALBs and report suspects either by emailing photos to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mailing insects themselves to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere.

“Most invasive forest pest infestations have been discovered and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital tool for protecting our urban and rural forests,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a statement. “Swimming pool monitoring is a simple, economical approach to surveying for Asian longhorned beetles and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting the trees in their yards and communities.”

People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of ALB in their communities. With more people currently staying home, it’s a perfect opportunity to pay closer to attention to yard and neighborhood trees, Seggos said.

Here’s what to look for when searching the yard and pool for Asian longhorned beetles:

  • Are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and have black and white antennae;
  • Leave perfectly round exit holes about the size of a dime in branches and trunks of host trees; and
  • Create sawdust-like material called frass that collects on branches and around the base of trees.

For more information on the ALB Pool Survey and ALB, including biology and identification tools, visit DEC's website.

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