Asian longhorned beetle destroying New York trees

- The Asian longhorned beetle is back and leaving its mark on parts of Long Island. The damage: dime-sized holes as the beetles eat and kill trees from the inside out.

Matthew Roach of the United States Department of Agriculture says the beetles are black and white with blue feet. They're about an inch long. Females lay eggs, larvae grows and chews through the wood. When they become adults they burrow an exit hole and fly away to another tree.

"We found seven infested trees and two live beetles around the base of the trees," Roach said.

The beetle, originally from China, was first spotted on Long Island in the 1990s. It's believed they were brought in through packing wood.

Ray Pairan lives in Lindenhurst. He just lost one of his trees.

"It was a matter of maybe two years," Pairan said. "After the first year you notice a difference in the tree and the second year all the leaves were gone, and had to take the tree down."

The beetle has destroyed more than 23,000 trees in New York State, according to the USDA. August is said to be Tree Check Month because adult beetles are most often found in warm weather.

Certified Arborist Evan Dackow said tree removal has prevented a larger infestation.

"The biggest concern is that it's going to work its way up to the northeast -- Vermont, New Hampshire," Dackow said. "It could decimate the entire maple industry."

The beetle itself isn't a very strong flyer but moving wood can move the beetle to other areas quickly.

"Once the trees are identified as being confirmed Asian longhorned beetle-infested the trees are cut down, chipped on site, and the chips are sent to the incinerator," Roach said.

Homeowners should report sightings to the USDA and New York Department of Agriculture.

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