Beetles Invade NJ

NJ targets beetles' habitats, planning to cut down trees

By Barry N. Dima
|  Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011  |  Updated 1:40 PM EDT
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Beetles Invade NJ

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This isn't the type of beetles invasion that New Jersey welcomes.

Officials started taking steps Tuesday to protect the Pinelands in south Jersey from the southern pine beetle. The insect, which was first detected in New Jersey in 2001, has affected about 6 percent on New Jersey's pine forests in upper Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties—as well as, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, as far north as Monmouth.

The insect may be tiny—about 1/8 of an inch long—but they can do a lot of damage. They bore into bark to lay eggs and cut off the tree's supply of water and nutrients.

In 2007, the beetles were blamed for killing 3.9 million acres of trees in the western U.S., USA Today reports.

State Forester Lynn Fleming says suppression efforts will begin in Wharton State Forest.

Infected trees will be cut down and left on the ground, leaving the beetles disoriented.

A portion of some dead trees will be left standing to provide habitats for checkered beetles and woodpeckers, which are predators to the southern pine beetle.

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