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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.

U.S.D.A. Hunts For the Asian Longhorned Beetle On Avenue A

Tree Climber on Avenue ASuzanne Rozdeba Inspectors look for signs of the longhorned beetle.

Climbers from the federal Department of Agriculture were spotted today inspecting trees on Avenue A for signs of the dreaded Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive species that virtually guarantees the death of any tree it infests.

The Parks Department confirmed that the climbers were between Fourth and Fifth Streets at around 11:30 a.m. inspecting the trees for the circular, pencil-diameter holes that indicate the presence of the Chinese beetle that first appeared in the city — and in the U.S. — in 1996.

Since then, the beetle has been spotted in Central Park, Staten Island, parts of Brooklyn, and even as far away as Chicago. Typically, when a tree is found to be infested it is cut down, chopped up and burned. Trees in its immediate vicinity may also be felled in an attempt to quarantine the pest. Trees within a wider radius may be treated with an insecticide, as well. Read more…

Branches, Leaves and Quite a Fuss

DSC_0556Ian Duncan Two bloodgood plane trees in front of the Village East apartments on Avenue C have been cited as a danger by residents.

There they are. The pair of them, standing on Avenue C as plain as day, unaware of the trouble they’ve been causing.

They being, not two juvenile delinquents, but twin bloodgood plane trees that recently arrived unannounced on the sidewalk in front of the Village East co-op.

The issue of arboreal interlopers blew up at a Community Board 3 parks committee meeting on June 16. Anne Johnson, a board member and resident at Village East, said it was unfair of the parks department, acting with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, to plant trees without consulting residents.

“We want them placed somewhere else,” Ms. Johnson said at the meeting. “They are a danger,” she added, arguing that they present an obstacle to wheel chair users.

Currently the trees are bounded by bright yellow tape stamped with the word “caution.”

In an e-mail message, Ms. Johnson emphasized that residents were displeased by the placement of the trees and others approached by The Local last week seemed similarly miffed. Village East has its own active buildings and grounds committee and Ms. Johnson cited one resident’s concerns that the trees will distract observers from Village East’s existing planters.
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