© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pine Beetle Eradication Plan Will Restore Devastated LI Parks

Frank Eltman
A forester with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation points out a tiny southern pine beetle at the tip of his finger on the bark of a tree in the Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area in Rocky Point, N.Y.

Suffolk County officials have unveiled their updated plan to limit the spread of southern pine beetles and to restore areas they’ve devastated.

Executive Director of the Central Pine Barrens Commission, John Pavacic, says that cutting down infested trees is one of the only effective ways to reduce the pine beetles’ spread.

“There’s no pesticide available that’s safe to use that could eradicate them. So, the trees are going to die anyway. So those trees are cut while the beetles are still in there.”      

The invasive pine beetle can kill a single tree in two to four months.

“Adult beetles burrow into the bark of the tree to lay eggs, and the larvae basically chew through the living tissue of the tree and girdle the tree, killing the tree,” Pavacic says.

Using $225,000 in recovery grants, Suffolk County Parks will plant native pitch pine seeds throughout impacted areas, beginning with Hubbard County Park in Hampton Bays.

Since it was first spotted on Long Island in 2014, over 5,000 acres have been impacted.