Pool owners sought to participate in citizen science survey to identify invasive insects

By WBNG News

Pool owners sought to participate in citizen science survey to identify invasive insects

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Pool owners are invited to join in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation second annual Asian longhorned beetle Swimming Pool Survey now through August 30 in order to help keep watch for these exotic, invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to our forests and street trees. 

According to a news release:

The Citizen Pool Survey takes place this time of year, when ALBs are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting and become active outside those trees.

ALBs are originally from Asia, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the nation, particularly in maple trees in New York City, on Long Island, in New Jersey, Chicago, Illinois, Worcester, Massachusetts and Clermont, Ohio. The state DEC Forest Health Program has developed a simple and easy survey to track ALBs for homeowners who have swimming pools and are willing to keep an eye out for these insects.

Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical alternative to traditional procedures for surveying ALBs in the state.  It also has the potential to become New York’s most effective method for detecting ALBs.  In addition, this monitoring program gives residents the ability to take an active role in protecting trees in their yards, communities and forests. 

With citizens involved in looking for this pest, there is a better chance of finding new infestations early, which will help DEC and other state and federal agencies focus their efforts to eliminate infestations. 

In addition to a owning a swimming pool, participants will need:

1. A digital camera.

2. An email address that is actively used (if they want to receive updates from DEC).

3. The ability to upload a photograph and send it via email.

You don’t have a pool?  You can still help.  This year, DEC expanded its photo collection to include anyone who spots a suspect beetle, whether it is found in their pool or not.  Residents are also encouraged to submit photos if there is suspicion of an emerald ash borer or another invasive pest damaging native ash trees.  Photos can be submitted to: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html. 

Directions for participating in the pool survey are outlined below:

Step 1: From July 23 - August 30 (when adults are active).  At least once a week, or when you clean your pool, check the debris collected in your filter and skimmers. 

Step 2: Look for the ALB.  Once an email is provided, a sheet will be sent to you to help identify insects collected.  See: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7255.html.

Step 3: Take a picture of any insect you think might be an ALB. 

Step 4: Once a week send a photo of the insect that looks most like ALB.  DEC would like to hear from you once a week. 

Step 5: Send the photo to foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Step 6: Freeze the insect in a plastic container until DEC staff respond (typically that will be about a week).  Staff will either instruct you to discard the insect or give instructions on mailing it, delivering it, or arranging for pick-up. 

To sign up for the survey, please contact:

NYSDEC Forest Health Program
Attn: Jessica Cancelliere
Email: foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 810-1609