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Unprecedented infestation: Invasive beetle species never-before-found in city hits Brooklyn’s Backyard - Brooklyn Paper

Unprecedented infestation: Invasive beetle species never-before-found in city hits Brooklyn’s Backyard

Bad bug: Department of Parks and Recreation officials announced on Friday that the invasive-beetle species, Emerald Ash Borer — the larvae of which kill ash trees by burrowing into their bark — are present in Prospect Park for the first time ever.
Associated Press / Mike Groll

It’s a Prospect-Park plague.

An invasive species of tree-slaying beetle never-before-found in the city is infesting Brooklyn’s Backyard, Department of Parks and Recreation officials announced on Friday.

The Emerald Ash Borer, a small, non-native insect, was first detected in New York state in 2009, according to the agency, and park tree-keepers recently discovered the bugs in Brooklyn while tending the meadow’s tens of thousands of green things, its head landscaper said.

“The infestation was detected thanks to vigilant monitoring of the tree population by a year-round crew committed to the protection and preservation of the park’s 30,000 trees,” said John Jordan, director of landscape management for the Prospect Park Alliance, which maintains the lawn in conjunction with the city.

The beetle’s larvae burrows deep beneath the bark of ash trees, slowly killing them by cutting off the circulation of water and nutrients.

But the bugs are only a threat to ash trees, which constitute about three percent of all growing in the city, according to a parks department press release.

Officials identified ten trees in Prospect Park that they suspected were affected by the insects, and immediately chopped down and carted off three after confirming they were infested, according to the release, which said workers will remove more this winter.

Local green thumbs should monitor their neighborhood trees for telltale signs of a borer infestation, including the D-shaped exit hole the bugs make in bark as they emerge from trunks, and report any sightings to authorities, said the head of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The public can greatly assist in our efforts by paying close attention to signs of this invasive pest and reporting any detections to the DEC’s Forest Health Division,” said Basil Seggos.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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