Thursday, January 26th, 2023
Thursday, January 26th, 2023

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DEC confirms southern pine beetle in Albany; farthest north it’s been found in northeastern U.S.

(New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in cooperation with the United States Forest Service and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC), has confirmed the presence of southern pine beetle (SPB) in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

A single beetle was caught in a trap near Rapp Road in Albany. This is the farthest north SPB has ever been confirmed in the Northeastern United States.

“The southern pine beetle poses a significant threat to New York’s pine forests,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “DEC is actively fighting the infestations of this invasive pest and continues searching for signs of the beetle in Upstate New York, to help stay ahead of these destructive pests.”

SPB, a bark beetle native to the southern United States, has steadily expanded its range north and west, most likely in response to climate change, the DEC said in a news release Wednesday, March 28. Considered one of the most destructive forest pests in the United States, SPB attacks several species of pine including pitch pine, an iconic species of the Pine Bush and other pine barrens throughout the state. Trees can die quickly from repeated beetle attacks, often succumbing within two to four months.

DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests and the APBPC began placing early detection traps in the preserve in 2015. Additional traps set in the Hudson Valley by DEC and partners confirmed the presence of SPB in Minnewaska State Park, Bear Mountain State Park, Schunnemunk State Park, and Roosa Gap State Forest in 2016 and 2017. Despite these detections, infested trees have not yet been found north of Long Island. The beetles are likely persisting at low levels upstate and therefore not causing the widespread tree mortality like that observed on Long Island. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve will be added to the locations identified for continued aerial and ground monitoring to search for infested trees.

DEC is asking the public to report any recently dead or dying pitch pine and red pine they encounter outside of Long Island, especially if there are several trees grouped together and they are dying quickly. Sightings may be reported to the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab through the toll-free information line, 1-866-640-0652 or by email, If possible, accompany any email reports with photos of the trees and close-ups of any damage with something in the photos for scale, such as a penny, to help with identification.

For additional information on Southern Pine Beetle, click here.

— New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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