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Invasive Species Defending Your Condo's Landscape

 In March, federal and state agricultural officials trumpeted some good news to  New Jersey residents: The state is officially free of the Asian Longhorned  Beetle.  

 The declaration marked a victory against the invasive pest that was first seen  in Jersey City in 2002. Over time, sate and federal agriculture officials found ALB-infested trees in  Carteret, Woodbridge, Linden, and Rahway. Eradication efforts involved the removal of 21,981 trees in Union, Middlesex,  and Hudson counties—about a third of which have since been replaced with trees less hospitable to  the beetles.  

 Free at Last

 “After more than a decade,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher announced in mid-March, “we can declare New Jersey is free of this invasive pest. We could not have  accomplished this eradication without this coalition of federal, state, and  local agencies, and of course, the citizens of New Jersey, whose vigilance was  critical in this fight.”  

 The second state to declare itself ALB-free—Illinois claimed the designation in 2008 — New Jersey chalked up the victory to a “vigilant” public that was encouraged to inspect trees for signs of ALB damage and report  any suspicious findings. “The public is our best defense against the beetle,” Victor Harabin, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) associate deputy  administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant  Protection and Quarantine program. “Early detection is essential, and I want to thank the citizens of New Jersey for  their efforts to stop the spread of this invasive pest.”  

 At the same time, other states are still battling the ravages of the insect that  is thought to have arrived in this country via wooden pallets or packing  materials. The beetles make bore holes in the host tree, eventually killing it,  and have no known predators in this country. Since 2008, some $50 million in  federal and state money has been spent on eradication. In central  Massachusetts, entire neighborhoods were stripped of shade trees and an embargo  has been in place in Massachusetts and elsewhere, prohibiting the movement of  firewood because it could potentially harbor the voracious bugs.  

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