Area Trees Face Being Cut Down As Beetlemania Strikes Bayside – QNS.com

Area Trees Face Being Cut Down As Beetlemania Strikes Bayside

The discovery of a ravenous, alien species of beetle which kills trees by eating them from the inside out has City Parks officials and residents of Bayside "bugging out" over the fact that a cry of "timber" may be heard throughout the area sometime in the near future. "This is a rather serious situation," said City Parks Commissioner Henry Stern at a press conference held on the heels of the initial discovery of the black and white spotted beetles near 219 St. and 43 Ave. Stern claimed that the Parks Dept. plans "to remove every tree we find that has been infected," in Queens which houses at least 200,000 of the City’s 500,000 street trees according to the Parks Dept..
What is making the skin of area tree lovers crawl is the reputation of this voracious invader, known better in the agricultural community as the Asian-Long Horned Beetle, which burrows deep within trees and lays thousands of eggs which eventually hatch and create holes that kill the limbed plant life by interrupting the photosynthesis foodmaking process. Federal and local officials have claimed that the only way to stop these winged creatures and prevent a widespread bug plague is to kill the infected trees in order to save ones in surrounding locales.
Since last Wednesday (Feb. 10), Parks personnel have discovered 31 infected street trees and ten within the backyards of a ten block established danger zone bordered by the Cross Island Pkwy, Oakland Lake, Dermody Lane and Bell Blvd.; an area where officials believe these tiny foliage spoilers may be lurking. The long horned beetle which is not indigenous to North America "may have been transported through shipping material," said Tom Russo, a Parks Dept. spokesman who told the Courier that even though there is no major shipping area immediately nearby, the insect may have found its way to Bayside after stowing away in a package shipped to the area from the Orient.
Specifying that no smoking crate has been found which can be traced to this most recent insect immigration, Dr. Isi Siddiqui, a representative of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reported that since 1996, 28 shipments of infested wood from China have been intercepted in harbors primarily on the west coast in places like Seattle, WA and Long Beach, CA. Inspection and survey of all area trees and shrubs is slated to begin on Thursday (Feb 18) said Ed Skyler, a spokesperson for the Parks Dept. but the Queens Courier learned that officials from Federal, state and local agencies were already trying to de-bug the situation as early as Tuesday (Feb. 16) afternoon. Since 1996 the only known infestations of the long horned beetle have occurred in Chicago, Amityville, Long Island; Brooklyn and locally in parts of Sunnyside and Ridgewood.

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