DEM searches for dreaded insect

By Dana Griffin

WARWICK, RI- No sign of a bad news beetle in Rhode Island. The Asian Longhorned Beetle can kill thousands of trees if it goes unchecked.

The black and white, Asian Longhorned Beetle is a major threat to trees, which is why the Department of Environmental Management seeks them out every August.

Today volunteers fanned out across Goddard Memorial State Park, in Warwick. It's full of maples; the beetles tree of choice.

“We haven't found anything today,” said DEM Pest Outreach Coordinator, Cindy Kwolek.

The beetle killed 30–thousand trees in Worcester five years ago and there's concern the beetles will migrate to other areas. It first came to the U.S. from Asia.

“If they find it in one small section, the whole mile and a half sections of trees have to come out. So that would really be devastating,” said volunteer, Lori Percivalle.

Volunteers use binoculars to search through trees, looking for signs of exit holes the size of a dime.

Percivalle adds, “If you put a pencil in the hole, it goes straight. It doesn't go down, or to the side so you know it's the beetle.”

300–trees were surveyed today and good news… no sign of the beetles.

DEM has surveyed Burlingame Park in Charlestown, George Washington Campground in Chepachet, and Lincoln Wood Park in Lincoln. No word on where they'll focus next August.

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