2002-02-23 / Front Page

The Beetles Invasion Black Turpentine Beetle Destroying Pines

By Gary G. Toms

The Beetles Invasion
Black Turpentine Beetle Destroying Pines
By Gary G. Toms


"The insect has decimated black pines along the Jones Beach strip and elsewhere on Long Island, so it was only a matter of time before it moved westward to the Rockaways," said Don Riepe, Refuge Manager of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge."The insect has decimated black pines along the Jones Beach strip and elsewhere on Long Island, so it was only a matter of time before it moved westward to the Rockaways," said Don Riepe, Refuge Manager of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

After receiving phone calls from concerned residents about trees being cut down around the Riis Park area, The Wave looked into the matter and found out that the Japanese Black Pines at Riis Park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge have been dying from an infestation by the Black Turpentine Beetle.

"The insect has decimated black pines along the Jones Beach strip and elsewhere on Long Island, so it was only a matter of time before it moved westward to the Rockaways," said Don Riepe, Refuge Manager of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Last summer, National Park Rangers and volunteers removed over 300 dead pines from the wildlife refuge in Broad Channel and planted a variety of native conifers and evergreens in the fall as replacement species. They will continue with more cuttings and plantings this spring and fall.

By removing dead exotic pines and planting a diversity of native conifers such as pitch pine, white pine, red cedar and American holly, the park service is improving wildlife habitat and reducing the probability of extensive damage from future infestations.

"Currently, rangers are removing dead black pines from areas around Riis Park. These areas too will be replaced with native pines. While the turpentine beetle is a native insect, it is mostly impacting monocultures of the exotic black pine, so it is hoped that the native trees will be better adapted to infestation," said Riepe.

A more insidious insect to worry about is the current proliferation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle. This exotic insect, if unchecked, could devastate large tracts of forestland. To date, the National Park Service has not found this species at the Jamaica Bay Refuge and other areas of Gateway National Recreation Area.

If you would like to obtain more information on this subject, please contact Don Riepe at (718) 318-4340.      


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