State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos encourages New York pool owners to participate in DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey during August. This is the time of year when Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults and are most active outside of their host tree. The goal of the survey is to look for and find these exotic, invasive beetles before these pests cause serious damage to our forests and street trees.

“The majority of invasive forest pest infestations are found and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital component for protecting our urban and rural forests,” said Seggos. “Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical approach to surveying for Asian Longhorned Beetles and gives the public a chance to take an active role in protecting the trees in their yards and communities.”

DEC requests that people with swimming pools periodically check their pool filters for any insects that resemble ALB and either email photos to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mail insects to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab for identification, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, N.Y. 12054.

People without pools can also help by learning how to recognize the beetle, as well as the signs it leaves behind:

• ALB are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots and have long, black and white antennae.

• These pests leave perfectly round exit holes, about the size of a dime, in branches and tree trunks.

• Sawdust-like material called frass will collect on branches and around the base of the tree.

ALB is a wood boring beetle native to Asia that was accidentally introduced to the United States through wood packing materials. These pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows, among others, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) has worked diligently to manage the ALB infestations in our state and succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Eastern Queens.

For more information on ALB and the Pool Survey, visit DEC’s website.