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NE Queens ‘quarantined’ to control Asian beetles

If you live in western or northern Queens, trees in your neighborhood have most likely...

By Betsy Scheinbart

Their black iridescent bodies adorned with white spots and strikingly long antennae make the Asian Longhorned Beetle a beautiful creature, but looks can be deceiving.

If you live in western or northern Queens, trees in your neighborhood have most likely been destroyed by the Asian Longhorned Beetle. The beetle devours trees like maples, elms, birches, poplars, horse chestnuts and willows.

“The Norway maple, which adorns many streets in Queens, is a primary target for the beetle,” said Naomi Zurcher of New York Releaf, a state-funded educational program.

Almost all of northern and western Queens is under a U.S. Department of Agriculture quarantine, an effort to control the spread of this tree-consuming beetle.

There are two quarantined areas in Queens. The western quarantine is bound in the west and north by the East River and LaGuardia Airport.

In the east, it is bound by 94th Street in East Elmhurst, Junction Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens Boulevard and Yellowstone Boulevard in Rego Park, and Woodhaven Boulevard.

In Woodhaven, Atlantic Avenue is the southern border of the quarantined area, which flows into northern and western parts of Brooklyn.

The northeastern Queens quarantine begins in the east in Glen Oaks, where the Grand Central Parkway intersects the Queens and Nassau County line. The Grand Central serves as a boundary to the south and in Jamaica Estates, 188th Street becomes a western border.

The area is bound still by the Kissena Corridor, excluding Kissena Park from the quarantine. The Van Wyck Expressway, in Flushing, is the final land border as the shoreline of the Flushing River serves as the northern border.

Residents are prohibited from removing or discarding any wood from quarantined areas. The city Parks Department will collect any tree limbs or other debris for free.

To prevent the spread of the beetle, NY Releaf advises city residents not to cut down infested trees and not to move infested wood, even within the quarantined area.

NY Releaf also discourages planting popular beetle host trees. Check with the Parks Department or a certified landscaper to find out which species are not host trees.

Call 1-800-201-PARK for any beetle-related questions.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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