Longhorned Beetle Hunters Scour Astor

IMG_1056Stephen Rex Brown The arborists prepare to climb trees at Astor Place.

Tree-climbers are searching for the dreaded Asian longhorned beetle at Astor Place today. An arborist at the scene said that no beetles had recently been spotted, but that the area was contaminated about four years ago, so investigators are being “extra careful.”

The climbers typically look for circular, pencil-diameter holes in the trees, the signature of the Chinese beetle that first appeared in the city — and in the U.S. — in 1996. When a beetle is found, it spells the destruction of the infested tree and usually many of the other trees nearby in an attempt to quarantine the insect.

The tree-climbers are a fairly common sight in the neighborhood. Late last year they were spotted on Avenue A.