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Check pool filters, trees for Asian longhorned beetles, state DEC says

An Asian longhorned beetle.

An Asian longhorned beetle. Credit: Natural World/Bill Davis

Enjoying your swimming pool this summer? Check the filter regularly to see if it's caught any invasive Asian longhorned beetles, the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests.

And if you have trees in your yard, check tree branches and trunks for the nearly perfect dime-sized holes these destructive bugs drill, creating a little mound of sawdust that may fall down to the roots.

The long-legged insects — black and speckled, about an inch-and-a-half long — have bored into and killed thousands of trees around the country, the DEC says, so it is asking New Yorkers to help out with a late-summer survey because that's when these non-native invaders become active.

While they have been eradicated in Islip, as well as Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan, "The beetle still is being actively managed in central Long Island, and there are active infestations in Massachusetts, Ohio and South Carolina," the department said in a statement.

Accidentally brought to this country in packing materials, "these pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows," the statement said.

"The best opportunity to eradicate and limit the spread of invasive species is by finding infestations early, when populations are low," said DEC commissioner Basil Seggos.

The survey, he added, "is a simple, economical approach to surveying for these pests and gives New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in protecting their communities."

New Yorkers should report any suspected Asian longhorned beetles by emailing photos to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mailing insects to DEC's Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Rd., Delmar, NY 12054, Attention: Liam Somers.

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