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Quarantine targets long-horned beetles

The invasive beetle

The invasive beetle Credit: Photo by Peter Dilauro

The Massapequa and Amityville regions appear to be winning the fight against the Asian long-horned beetle as they enter their 16th year as a quarantine zone.

The last active infestation was found in the Massapequas in 2007 and in Amityville in 2008, but it is too soon to declare the invasive pest has been eradicated in the area, said Joseph Gittleman, project manager for the USDA’s Asian long-horned beetle eradication efforts in New York.

“We’re presently in the process of doing a complete sweep through Massapequa and Amityville to see if it’s festering,” he said. “Once we complete that, we’ll determine whether a third sweep is necessary.”

Gittleman called the progress “very positive.”

Oyster Bay Town officials last week asked residents of the town’s quarantine area — which covers Massapequa, Massapequa Park and parts of North Massapequa — to help eradicate the beetle by continuing to properly dispose of their wood.

Residents should place wood on their curbs for pick-up separate from regular yard waste, officials said. The collected wood is chipped, they said.

“While it [the collection process] has been effective, we must remain vigilant because this invasive beetle is resourceful and very resilient, not to mention a stealthy hitchhiker,” Councilman Joe Muscarella said in a statement.

Elsewhere in the quarantine zone, lumber and firewood are similarly regulated and cannot be removed from the area without being chipped.

In August, the beetle was declared eradicated from the Islip area.

In the 22-square-mile Amityville quarantine area, which includes Massapequa, Babylon, Copiague and Lindenhurst, more than 1,900 trees have been lost since the pest was first detected here in 1996, Gittleman said.

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