NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The tree-killing Asian longhorned beetle has been eradicated from two of the New York City’s boroughs, state agriculture officials said Tuesday.
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine said trees in Manhattan and Staten Island are now free of the beetle, and wood can move out of previously regulated areas.
The Asian longhorned beetle tunnels into tree trunks and kills several types of trees, including buckeye, willow and American elm, officials said.
The insect was first detected in the U.S. in 1996, in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Over the next two years, infestations erupted in Amityville and Islip on Long Island, as well as Queens, Manhattan, and Chicago, officials said.
In Manhattan, the beetle damaged numerous trees in Central Park over the years.
The beetle is believed to have come to the United States via wood crating and shipping pellets from China. The insect is a major pest on poplar plantations in Asia, and also destroys numerous trees in North America, including maple, elm, willow, horse chestnut, mulberry, birch, green ash, sycamore, and London planetree, officials said.
The beetle was declared eradicated from New Jersey last month. It was first seen in Jersey City in 2002, but was wiped out of Hudson County a few years ago.
Officials said Brooklyn, Queens and central Long Island are the only places in New York State that are not beetle-free.
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