chipping and burning infected trees is the current solution
to the longhorned beetle threat.
species often arrive in the environments they come to terrorize
purely by accident. Ballast water taken into a ship's hull
for stabilization can be innocently released into a harbor
halfway around the world. But that water could contain traces
of life ready to multiply out of control in the foreign port.
such accidental tourist was the Asian longhorned beetle. It
first arrived in the U.S. in the 1980's in wooden packing
materials from China. Soon these voracious eaters were infesting
maple trees, laying their eggs inside the trunks and letting
the larvae literally eat their way out. The beetle problem
is confined to the New York and Chicago areas. That is, for
alien species have had a little more direct help from man
in getting a foothold in a new area. In the 1870's, Etienne
Trouvelot from Medford, Massachusetts imported the European
gypsy moth in the hopes of sparking a silk industry in the
U.S. But soon the moth had escaped, and the forests of the
Northeast would never be the same.
A gypsy moth caterpillar dines on oak tree leaves.
on the leaves of the region's abundant oak trees, the moth
population exploded, taking over some 40,00 square miles of
forest by the late 1920's. Today, the invasion has progressed
as far west as Wisconsin. USDA scientist Vic
Mastro has taken up the gypsy moth fight that began over
one hundred years ago. Accepting that the moth is here to
stay, he and his team are now devising ways to help control
its spread. As Mastro says, the single best way to fight an
alien species is to prevent its introduction in the first
place - a task which is becoming harder and harder to accomplish.
more on this topic, see the web feature:
Dr. Killer Bee