Asian LongHorned Beetles

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harmonyhillbill
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Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by harmonyhillbill » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:16 pm

My name is Bill, and I was the first one to discover the Asian Longhorned Beetle in Ohio. Our Autumn Blaze Maple trees were discovered as infested in early June of 2011. We have a 70 acre Nationally Certified Wildlife Habitat farm, vineyards and winery. The USDA and ODA have already identified and tagged >3000 trees that will have to be destroyed in our little township alone. I have started a tree initiative to help garner government funds to have our trees replaced. If anyone has any experience with this type of grant writing, or even good suggestions, it would be appreciated.

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edfrank
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by edfrank » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:58 am

Bill,

Thanks for your post. I have been reading various reports as they appear on the spread of the Asian Longhorn Beetle. It is a shame. I wonder about the reasonableness of destroying thousands of trees in order to somehow save them? When it as not been shown that the massive scale cutting does anything to prevent the spread of the pest. I wanted to welcome you the the Native Tree Society and encourage you to post on trees and forests you enjoy - especially your farm, vineyard, and winery. I unfortunately do not have any experience in writing grants or suggestions to help you get funding to replace the lost trees.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Joe

Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by Joe » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:19 pm

edfrank wrote:Bill,

Thanks for your post. I have been reading various reports as they appear on the spread of the Asian Longhorn Beetle. It is a shame. I wonder about the reasonableness of destroying thousands of trees in order to somehow save them? When it as not been shown that the massive scale cutting does anything to prevent the spread of the pest. I wanted to welcome you the the Native Tree Society and encourage you to post on trees and forests you enjoy - especially your farm, vineyard, and winery. I unfortunately do not have any experience in writing grants or suggestions to help you get funding to replace the lost trees.

Ed
Reportedly, many of the thousands of trees cut due to the ALB problem in the Worcester, MA area were not in fact infected. This problem turned out to be a huge windfall- something like 40 million bucks for arborist firms- and most of that went to one firm.

Though the expense might be worth it- I just read that the inspectors who usually check the borders for imported vegetation- had been since 9/11 sent to other duties- so the cost of that transferal of inspectors was a stupid move. And, I agree that it's usually not possible to stop such infestations.
Joe

harmonyhillbill
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by harmonyhillbill » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:58 pm

So much misinformation is out there for the general public to stew on. As it stands, you are both wrong.
Ed, the only way to control this invasive pest is to cut the trees down, chip the wood and incinerate it. I have witnessed what damage these ALB can do to a tree in 1 year. I have a 10" caliper Autumn Blaze Maple in the front yard that has literally thousands of oviposition sites in the bark. That means that there are already those thousands of larvae that have burrowed into the heartwood of the tree and are growing into pupae to hatch from the tree next June. Since the larvae are in the center core of the heartwood and not contained in the cambium oir sapwood layers like the Emerald Ash Borer would be, root soaks of Imiclopromid are of minimal efficacy. I have watched this tree transition from a healthy brilliant red maple in 2010 to a skeleton of itself this fall, having lost dozens of branches one at a time. The tree is dying a slow death, as are all trees infested with the ALB. The USDA (APHIS) is cutting down infested trees that are already doomed to a slow death, only to save those neighboring trees that are healthy. Whether "massive scale cutting does anything to prevent the spread", remember, Joe and Ed, the ALB has been eradicated in Chicago, and APHIS is conducting final surveys to deem New Jersey and New York City eradicated. This is following the cut and incinerate method of eliminating the infested trees. I am unsure how either of you can justify the statement about the efficacy of USDA, Ohio Department of Agriculture and Mass's Department of Conservation and Recreation's processes for dealing with this destructive pest.

Joe

Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by Joe » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:58 am

harmonyhillbill wrote:So much misinformation is out there for the general public to stew on. As it stands, you are both wrong.
Ed, the only way to control this invasive pest is to cut the trees down, chip the wood and incinerate it. I have witnessed what damage these ALB can do to a tree in 1 year. I have a 10" caliper Autumn Blaze Maple in the front yard that has literally thousands of oviposition sites in the bark. That means that there are already those thousands of larvae that have burrowed into the heartwood of the tree and are growing into pupae to hatch from the tree next June. Since the larvae are in the center core of the heartwood and not contained in the cambium oir sapwood layers like the Emerald Ash Borer would be, root soaks of Imiclopromid are of minimal efficacy. I have watched this tree transition from a healthy brilliant red maple in 2010 to a skeleton of itself this fall, having lost dozens of branches one at a time. The tree is dying a slow death, as are all trees infested with the ALB. The USDA (APHIS) is cutting down infested trees that are already doomed to a slow death, only to save those neighboring trees that are healthy. Whether "massive scale cutting does anything to prevent the spread", remember, Joe and Ed, the ALB has been eradicated in Chicago, and APHIS is conducting final surveys to deem New Jersey and New York City eradicated. This is following the cut and incinerate method of eliminating the infested trees. I am unsure how either of you can justify the statement about the efficacy of USDA, Ohio Department of Agriculture and Mass's Department of Conservation and Recreation's processes for dealing with this destructive pest.
newspaper articles have indicated that many non infected trees were cut- but perhaps in the rush to stop the spread, that was inevitable- I certainly didn't say it shouldn't be done but I still have doubts that it can be stopped- meanwhile, the borders are not being watched as carefully as they used to be

harmonyhillbill
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by harmonyhillbill » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:12 am

harmonyhillbill wrote:the borders are not being watched as carefully as they used to be
You are absolutely correct here. Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply. Now we are dealing with the worst infestation of invasives in our history. Couple that lack of detection with the milder weather of global warming and we now have a different recipe for disaster on our hands. It's scary.

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edfrank
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by edfrank » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:04 am

Bill,

I am aware of the life cycle of the Asian Longhorn Beetle, and have posted about the infestations previously. I have read articles on the Chicago "success" Here is a link to the most prominent one: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/ ... uccess.pdf

Other treatment approaches have been suggested involving chemical treatment for most of the trees in an infested area and removal of those actually infected. This is a way to save the vast majority of the trees ans still achieve the same net effect. However since there is not much profit to be had in doing this on the part of the contractors involved, any alternative except the sledgehammer approach of cutting everything and then cutting some more just to be sure was chosen by Chicago. That does not mean it is the best approach, or only approach. If someone in a town gets the measles, you do not kill everyone there just to make sure they don't get sick....

Chemical treatment will not affect those beetles once they have bored int the heartwood of the tree, but insecticides will kill the beetle larva when it is in the first and second instar stages - treatment will prevent the infestation of healthy trees. If the trees show external signs of having been infested, such as signs of the larva having been feeding on the bark, inner bark, etc. then cutting the tree own, chipping it, and incinerating the infested tree is the way to go. Thousands of healthy trees, that are not infested, could be saved by chemical treatment without the need to cut them down and remove them. The majority of the trees removed were perfectly healthy. There is an enormous cost to the tree removal process. Not only do you need to cut the tree down chip it, then incinerate it. There is the loss of property value related to the trees being cut down, there are aesthetic considerations which affect the health of the residents nearby, there is the cost of replacing the cut trees. The net cost amounts to thousands of dollars per tree, so why cut down trees you don't need to cut?

The Chicago success story is more a collection of self congratulatory pats on each other back than a realistic look at what was done. In addition to cutting down the scattered trees in the infested areas, it also involved massive amounts of chemical treatment over large areas. So they must have thought chemical treatment was useful, even if not as glamorous as large scale cutting. I am sure that cutting the trees was more cost effective than treating them, but there has not been a demonstration that it was more effective than chemical treatment and selective cutting of trees know to be infested. It also does not show that excessive profiteering was not taking place in the guise of helping to eradicate the invasive beetle species. We shall not be able to tell for some time whether or not the species is gone from these regions, or whether a token hot spot was all that was removed from a wider spread infestation.

The USDA produces some marvelous science, but it also produces some questionable reports. There are reports of shouting to the wind how well beetle releases have done in the fight against the hemlock wooly adelgid, when in fact what they are calling a success in big letters simply means that out of tens of thousands of beetles released they managed to find a couple that survived the winter along with the millions of HWA that also survived. There is the recent dubious claim that HWA has not impacted hemlock cover over the broad range of the species. This may be statistically correct, but it misrepresents the situation in large areas where all of the overstory hemlock trees have died, and only a scattering of shrub examples remain.

I can justify my statements concerning bias and political expediency on the part of some sections of the forest service by example after example. Look at how well they did with the massive forests of dead hemlocks in the southeast lost through misguided or willful actions or lack of actions through the concerted efforts of the federal and state governments. The have consistently pursued a course of action with the HWA that was both expensive and demonstrably ineffective with their predatory beetle releases, almost as if they wanted the efforts to fail so the hemlocks would be replaced by a more profitable species of tree. So the statement to the effect that these government agencies are doing it, so it must be the right thing to do is a load of crap. I am not minimizing the effects of the infestation, or the need to eradicate the infestations if possible, but I can justifiably question the effectiveness of the solution and the motivations of those calling the shots.

I do not trust that the APHIS people are dong the right thing just because they say they are, as cutting to preserve the health of the forest has been a long time catch phrase to justify cutting whatever the timber industry wanted to cut. Prove to me that this is a better way to go than selective cutting and chemical treatment. Proof does not consist of a puff piece congratulating themselves on a job well done and quotes from political types that gained financially and politically from the cutting.

So in summary: 1) I am aware of the life history of the beetle, I have posted many links about it previously. 2) I am aware of the Chicago "success" but I am somewhat dubious that t was actually successful, 3) I don't think it was the best option to pursue, selective cutting and chemical treatment would have been better in my opinion, 4) I believe that the alternative 4 above would be as likely to eradicate the beetle once an infestation had been established than what was done, 5) chemical treatment and selective cutting would not cost as much as did the extensive pointless cutting done in Chicago. 6) It simply isn't true that all of the trees were infested as some articles imply, 7) Just because one city did something a certain way does not mean it should be the model for treatment in every situation, 8) I hope the Chicago infestation was truly wiped out.

You are much more closely involved with the actual effects and impacts of the beetles in your own stand of trees. You may be right and the solution that was developed by APHIS may be right approach to take. I disagree. That does not mean I am uniformed about the subject.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by AndrewJoslin » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:43 pm

Ironically the large scale removal of ALB host trees in Worcester, Mass. was the direct result of poor urban forestry practices in the 1950's. After back-to back hurricanes and a tornado in 54, 55, a large area of Worcester was planted with Norway Maple. Fast forward to the late 90's and ALB had a field day feasting on monoculture. Contrast with the ALB found in Boston a few short years ago in five landscape red maples. After surveying thousands of trees Aphis/USDA has been unable to locate a trace of ALB outside the original infestation. In the immediate area of the infestation there is a very diverse species mix dominated by red oak, typical eastern Mass. native species mix. ALB is a famously slow mover, reluctant to leave a host tree until it is completely demolished and then incapable of traveling far to find a new host. So... I believe ALB can only succeed in native eastern forest as a result of total observational neglect. Any strategy to control can't be cookie cutter, monoculture urban or suburban sites are highly vulnerable, diverse native forest sites much less so with reasonably good monitoring. Just my opinion.
-AJ

Joe

Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by Joe » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:51 pm

AndrewJoslin wrote:Ironically the large scale removal of ALB host trees in Worcester, Mass. was the direct result of poor urban forestry practices in the 1950's. After back-to back hurricanes and a tornado in 54, 55, a large area of Worcester was planted with Norway Maple. Fast forward to the late 90's and ALB had a field day feasting on monoculture. Contrast with the ALB found in Boston a few short years ago in five landscape red maples. After surveying thousands of trees Aphis/USDA has been unable to locate a trace of ALB outside the original infestation. In the immediate area of the infestation there is a very diverse species mix dominated by red oak, typical eastern Mass. native species mix. ALB is a famously slow mover, reluctant to leave a host tree until it is completely demolished and then incapable of traveling far to find a new host. So... I believe ALB can only succeed in native eastern forest as a result of total observational neglect. Any strategy to control can't be cookie cutter, monoculture urban or suburban sites are highly vulnerable, diverse native forest sites much less so with reasonably good monitoring. Just my opinion.
-AJ
Well, that's good news- I'd hate to lose the sugar maples which I like for many reasons- they're beautiful, indicate rich soils, and they make very valuable timber.
Joe

harmonyhillbill
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Re: Asian LongHorned Beetles

Post by harmonyhillbill » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:10 pm

Dear Ed et al.
What a difference a year makes. Today is 12 months since I discovered this invasive SOB in my front yard maples, and I am ashamed to say that it is the first time that I have checked in with NTS since making my rather accusatory comments in October, mostly because the entire plan of attack has changed so drastically, that I now hardly have time to sleep at night. Where I was asking about tree planting grants in my original post, I am now asking for understanding. So much has changed that I hardly know where to begin.
I would think that the first thing I should do is apologize to you and Joe. It was hard for me to listen to contradiction of the methods of eradication touted by the organization that I had been brainwashed into thinking was out to help my neighbors and I. I was the most staunch supporter of the USDA throughout the summer and fall of 2011, performed educational presentations at the winery weekly, and most likely did more to educate the property owners of Tate Township than either the USDA or Ohio Department of Agriculture could have ever imagined. I passed out cases of educational material to the thousands of visitors to Harmony Hill. The USDA was here to remove the infested trees, while saving every healthy uninfested tree in Tate Township.....or so I was told. How could the USDA not be patted on the back for saving our trees?

Oh my goodness, how wrong was I?? On November 1, letters were sent to all affected property owners with the well phrased sentence "The USDA eradication activities include: removal of all host tree species, chipping of removed trees and all infested wood, and dispoosal of wood chips". Yippee, just what we had all been waiting for. Buckle down and get rid of these damned infested trees. But wait, After reading the letter, probably for the third time, I suddenly questioned what was meant by "all host tree species". Come to find out that my neighbors had all been fooled as I was, into believing that the USDA was only removing the infested trees, and not the healthy trees of 13 other species that make up 80% of the woodlots in Tate Township. The rest is history. Our actions as a community are well documented on both our website http://www.bethelalb.com/About%20Our%20Team.htm
and our FaceBook Group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/135064203265149/
The USDA now plans to remove 1.3 million healthy trees from this 25 sq mile area surrounding my farm. To the credit of my citizen's cooperative, there has not been a single uninfested tree intentionally removed by the USDA since the beginning of cutting, but that would have not been the case had we not united immediately. We are currently midway through our 60 day public comment period surrounding the USDA's final release of their 7 month long environmental assessment. I ask that you read through our website and follow us on FaceBook. I promise to check back with NTS on a regular basis to answer any questions you may have. How wrong of me to accuse you of being uninformed, when I was the one who was uninformed all along. Thank you for this chance to address you.

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