ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Environmentalists are voicing concerns regarding the spread of the Southern Pine Beetle.
On April 15, New York State agencies confirmed that southern pine beetles have expanded to new regions of New York and in greater numbers.
The Southern Pine Beetle is native to the southeastern United States that primarily attacks pitch pine and red pine, but will also attack additional conifers when outbreaks occur. They are known as destructive forests pests and according to scientists, pose a significant risk to New York’s pine forests.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, SPB infestations are spreading and was most recently found at the Saratoga Sand Plans Wildlife Management Area in Saratoga County.
Additionally, the invasive pest was detected at locations in the Hudson Valley, where SPB were previously found several infested trees were discovered in Taconic State Park, the first infested trees to be identified outside of Long Island.
Since 2016, SBP has been detected in low numbers in insect traps in the Hudson Valley, but the recent increase may signify their timely establishment north of Long Island.
DEC and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation said they are most closely watching multiple State Parks, including Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Schunnemunk Mountain State Park, Hudson Highlands, and Taconic State Park.
The signs of an infestation include discolored needles (yellowing to brownish-red), popcorn-sized clumps of resin called pitch tubes anywhere along the trunk, tiny holes in the bark in a scattershot pattern, and s-shaped galleries under the bark.
DEC is encouraging the public to report any signs of SBP by emailing pictures and location information to email@example.com.