Thursday, October 23, 2008

Asian beetle threatens 3 New England industries

"A wood-devouring beetle has gained a foothold in New England, and authorities plan to cut down large numbers of infested trees and grind them up to stop the pest from spreading to the region's celebrated forests and ravaging the timber, tourism and maple-syrup industries," writes Rodrique Ngowi of The Associated Press. The infested trees make up a 62-square-mile area around Worcester, Mass., and roughly 1,800 trees have been marked for destruction. (AP photo)

The federal government plans to spend tens of millions of dollars, considering the matter a national emergency. Adds Ngowi, "They have sent in smokejumpers, tree climbers and other experts to identify infested trees." Once the first frost has killed the adult beetles, authorities will begin to cut down trees that have been identified as infected.

The arrival of the beetles marks the fourth time that the pest has arrived in the U.S. "The beetles lay their eggs in small depressions they chew in tree bark," writes Ngowi. "The larvae and pupae consume the tree from the inside, leaving a trail of tunnels. They eventually chew their way out as adults. The tunneling slowly kills the tree." Regular pesticides are useless once the beetle's eggs have hatched. (Read more)

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