Asian longhorned beetle found in N.J.

October 17, 2002|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - A wood-munching beetle that has destroyed thousands of trees in New York City and Chicago has been found in New Jersey, causing concern that its damage may spread.

Federal and state agricultural officials said that they found the Asian longhorned beetles inside 98 trees on a 9-acre plot here among apartment and office towers, and concluded that the beetle had probably lived here for several years.

All the affected trees, most of them maples, will be destroyed in the spring, said Barry Emens, a supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Until then, a quarantine will be enforced within a mile-and-a-half radius of the site, restricting people from taking any wood out of the area. Inspectors are looking at other trees in the quarantine area, which extends into Hoboken.

The state's secretary of agriculture, Charles M. Kuperus, said that if not controlled, the Asian longhorned beetle, which is indigenous to China, "could have devastating effects on forested areas and residential trees in New Jersey and throughout the Northeast."

The number of infested trees surprised E. Richard Hoebeke, a Cornell University professor who identified the beetle after it was found in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1996.

But he said he was not surprised by the location. "It's nothing more than what's taken place in New York, it's not a separate introduction."

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