Asian longhorned beetle: Pool owners are first line of defense

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DURHAM, N.H. >> UNH Cooperative Extension suggests all pool owners should check their filters regularly for Asian longhorned beetles. This invasive insect is a serious threat to forests and trees. Although ALBs haven't been reported in New Hampshire yet, pool filters are a prime spot they'll appear once they're in the state. And if they do arrive, says Karen Bennett, Extension Forestry Specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension, "We need many people looking for it so we can take steps to limit its spread."

While ALBs carry enough destructive power to impact forests and urban ecosystems, they are also stealthy. In 2008, the invasive insects were found in Worcester, Mass., but experts believe they were in the trees for about 10 years before they were found. Pool owners in the area concurred: following the identification, many reported finding ALBs in their pools for years.

"Asian longhorned beetles are emerging from trees and those residents with giant insect collectors, also known as 'pools,' could help us greatly by paying attention to the debris collected in the filters," says Kyle Lombard, forest health specialist at the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands. "If any insect looks similar to a longhorned beetle, they should upload a picture of it."

All pool owners interested in helping should take the following steps: From mid-July through the end of August, whenever you clean your pool, look for longhorned beetles in the debris collected in your filter and skimmers; use a fact sheet to compare collected insects to common insects; take a picture of any insect you think is a longhorned beetle; upload photos to UNH Cooperative Extension's online form; f you send a picture, freeze the insect in a plastic container until you hear back in about a week.

Find more information about Asian longhorned beetles and other invasive insects at www.NHBugs.org.


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