The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to immunize trees in eastern Bayside against the Asian Longhorned beetle this spring following the discovery of an infested tree in the area, an agency official told Community Board 11 Monday.
USDA Forest Service entomologist Mike Bohne told the board at MS 158 in Bayside that a tree with the beetle was found north of Northern Boulevard between 218th and 219th streets.
Bohne said the beetle, an exotic pest that kills trees by boring into bark and destroying the root system, had claimed 927 trees in Bayside since 1998. Containment of the bug was crucial to protecting upstate forests and the integrity of New York Citys water supply, he said.
Were hoping that New Yorkers can help us stop this beetle where it is, said Bohne. We want to keep these trees alive.
The infested Bayside tree, found Sept. 9 and removed soon after, was the only one discovered in Community Board 11 in the last year. But as a precaution, the USDA planned to immunize trees starting in the spring between 46th Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road from 216th Street to 220th Street. North of Northern Boulevard, the area also includes land up to 220th Place.
The project, pending funding, calls for non-infested trees to be injected with imidacloprid, an insecticide similar to the chemical found on flea collars.
If funding should come through, letters will be sent to property owners about the tree vaccination, said Bohne. The USDAs activities in the area would include surveying trees, treating them and removing infested ones.
Our biggest stumbling block is trying to get into private property, said Bohne.
In rare cases, the USDA obtains an emergency warrant to remove an infested tree if its owner is uncooperative. But residents are free to refuse immunization of non-infested ones on their property.
The beetle favors maple, elm, poplar, ash, horse chestnut, birch, willow, silk and hackberry trees. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will replace removed trees for free.
Anyone with questions about the Bayside project can call (866) 265-0301. Those who suspect their tree has the beetle should call (877) STOP-ALB.
In other board news, a proposed speed bump on West Drive near Bayview Avenue in Douglas Manor proved unpopular with some neighbors at the meeting, but others said it was needed to slow down speeders.
The city Department of Transportation recently installed signs and ground markers for the bump, which has not yet been placed.
Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said speed bumps would be installed in Bayside on 218th Street between 68th and 73rd avenues.
The board also voted Monday to renew for 10 years a variance first granted to a veterinarians office at 204-18 46th Ave. in 1952.
In addition, the board voted to endorse a bill introduced by Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) that would allow the City Council to override decisions on zoning variances and permits by the Board of Standards and Appeals.
Iannece said Borough President Helen Marshall had signed off on the citys addition of 1.22 acres of land off Douglaston Parkway to Alley Pond Park.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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