A devastating forest pest has been detected on Long Island, endangering pine trees there.
The DEC and U.S. Forest Service have confirmed infestations of southern pine beetle for the first time in New York. The beetle has been verified in dying pine trees in the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Connetquot River State Park and the Henry's Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest.
"The Long Island Pine Barrens is a unique and precious natural resource which provides critical environmental, social, recreational and economic benefits to Long Island residents and communities," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Its signature pitch pine resource is seriously threatened by this newly discovered, non-native insect."
The black beetle, about the size of a rice grain, is considered one of the most destructive forest pests in the United States, attacking all species of pines. An estimated 1,000 new acres of pine forest in New Jersey have been destroyed each year since the beetle was found in that state in 2001, according to DEC.
Aerial surveys are planned in the coming weeks to pinpoint areas of infestation, and management plans will be developed over the winter while the beetles are dormant.