NYSDEC Slows Southern Pine Beetle’s Movement Across Long Island

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DEC’s Molly Hassett conducts an aerial survey of Southern Pine Beetle damage to pines on Long Island. Photos Courtesy Molly Hassett and DEC

Molly Hassett is the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Response Program Assistant for NYSDEC’s Forest Health section. She provided this report on the pest, which can devastate pines from New Jersey to Florida to Texas to Illinois.

But first, a note about an upcoming grant opportunity. NYSDEC Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk says, “The DEC’s forest health section is a great partner to us in urban forestry. We collaborate and assist New York’s communities by sharing each other’s information and resources. Those Long Island communities affected by the southern pine beetle may benefit from the next round of urban forestry grants, especially if they missed the SPB grants. Inventory, planning, planting, and maintenance funds will be available this fall.

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Southern pine beetles are said to look like chocolate sprinkles. It’s just 3 mm long. Photo by Molly Hassett
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Southern pine beetles attempt to enter the tree through a “pitch tube” — a resin mass that the tree produces to try to defend itself against further attack.

Southern pine beetle was first found on Long Island, New York in October 2014. Since then, the beetle has killed thousands of pitch pine trees on Long Island. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues working to slow the beetle. DEC monitors southern pine beetle with traps, aerial surveys, and ground surveys.

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