Finding Alternatives to Eradicate ALB
I appreciate the committee's hard work on crafting the agriculture appropriations bill on the floor today—a bill that supports American farmers, protects the safety of our food, keeps rural America vibrant, and ensures our taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and effectively.
I also want to thank you and the committee's continued support for an issue that is very important to my constituents of the second district of Ohio—the Asian Long-horned Beetle.
This pest, also known as ALB, is one of the most destructive, invasive species that has entered the United States. These beetles have been discovered in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois, and first seen in my district in 2011.
Mr. Chairman, ALB is devastating our trees. These insects burrow themselves into the heartwood of our trees where they lay larvae and feast off of the wood.
As a result, trees in my community are dying or becoming so structurally weak, that they are unsafe to even be near them. This doesn't just affect one type of tree, but over a dozen different species.
Eradicating this infestation is extremely important to me and my constituents. Unfortunately, the infestation has already come at a very high cost.
To date, roughly 43,000 trees have been removed in Clermont County of Ohio due to the Asian Long-horned Beetle, including over 30,000 trees that have not even yet been infested. This is 43,000 less trees that can no longer provide shade on a sunny day or protect against erosion. Not to mention, this infestation and tree removal is directly impacting the property values of homeowners.
Currently, cutting down and removing trees is the most common method used to eradicate these beetles. My constituents are having their trees removed from their own private properties, turning front yards into lumber yards.
Mr. Chairman, I ask that you insert language into the conference report that would encourage the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to support alternative methods to tree removal to combat the Asian Long-horned beetle.
Thank you and I appreciate your past and continued efforts to eradicate this destructive pest.