March 22, 2018

Asian beetle threat diminished

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WASHINGTON D.C. – The United States Department of Agriculture announced the Asian longhorned beetle has been eradicated from Stonelick Township.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently declared Stonelick Township free of the Asian longhorned beetle.

First discovered in southern Stonelick near Batavia Township in the summer of 2012, the infestation was linked to the movement of firewood.

The USDA and Ohio Department of Agriculture removed three affected trees and conducted more than 250,000 tree inspections across both townships, eventually applying chemical treatment to more than 8,700 high-risk trees.

“The invasive pest has caused the loss of more than 147,000 trees in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Illinois,” according to the USDA release. “The cooperative mission to eliminate this non-native beetles has resulted in success.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued its own release.

“While we are thrilled with the announcement today, we still ask residents to be vigilant and inspect their trees regularly for signs of the beetle,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA division of plant health.

Clermont County Park District Naturalist Alyssa Rooks agreed with Beal’s optimism and seconded his caution.

“This is very good news for all of Clermont County, including the Park District,” she said. “With Pattison Park and Sycamore Park in the previously quarantined townships, it is encouraging they have been declared ALB free.

“These parks – as well as our other parks and preserves – protect forested areas which are valuable for wildlife, our rivers and water quality and our community.

“Pattison Park is the home of our sugar bush. We definitely want to preserve our maple trees, which are most often the victims of ALB infestations. We all need to stay vigilant, remember to not relocate firewood and keep an eye on our trees. The spread of this beetle would be devastating to our forests.”

The success in Stonelick Township doesn’t mean the ALB threat is completely removed from Clermont County. East Fork State Park, Tate Township and portions of Monroe and Williamsburg townships remain under quarantine.

Both the USDA and ODA urged residents to inspect trees – maple, buckeye, willow and elm are particular targets – for signs including perfectly round exit holes left by emerging beetles, pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where eggs are laid, and wood shavings or sawdust where larvae tunnel.

To report signs of Asian longhorned beetles, visit www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com.

Mark D. Motz is the Community Relations Manager for the Clermont County Park District. A native Cincinnatian, he has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. Away from work, he enjoys photography, theater and spending time with his nine godchildren.

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