Southern pine beetle found in Columbia County
Bill Williams is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media that the destructive southern pine beetle that kills pine trees continues to move north and was recently found in Columbia County. Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson Lori Severinos said the destructive pests been discovered in Taconic State Park, as well as Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Schunnemunk Mountain State Park, and Hudson Highlands. They were found farther north than previously documented and in greater numbers, suggesting their range is expanding and populations are on the rise, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. The Southern pine beetle poses a significant threat to the state’s pine forests, specifically pitch pine forests such as those found in the Albany Pine Bush and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Seggos said. Three infested pines at Taconic State Park were found near Sunset Rock during joint survey efforts and were subsequently removed and destroyed. Native to the southeastern United States, the southern pine beetle was first discovered infesting pitch pines on Long Island in 2014. Since then, it has killed hundreds of thousands of trees on Long Island alone. The insects attack primarily pitch pine and red pine but will also attack additional trees when outbreaks occur, Severino said. DEC encourages the public to report any signs of southern pine beetles encountered in pine forests by emailing photographs and location information to forest health [at] dec [dot] ny [dot] gov. The signs of an infestation include discolored needles, popcorn-sized clumps of resin anywhere along the trunk, tiny holes in the bark in a scattershot pattern and S-shaped galleries under the bark, Severino said. Read more at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.