Lansing, MI (January 18, 2014) – Gov. Rick Snyder used his State of the State address to pledge new money in 2015 to battle the Asian longhorned beetle and other pests that are endangering Michigan trees, farms, and tourism businesses. The white-specked black bug drills and destroys hardwoods, including maple trees, an important tree in the state and for maple syrup producers.
The beetle is a $41 billion threat to maple syrup, forestry, fruit, and travel industries across the nation, the USDA has estimated. The Cincinnati area has lost more than 10,000 trees to the Asian longhorned beetle and they are also fighting the pest in Chicago.
The DNR director said the Governor’s proposal gives Michigan a shot at avoiding a level of destruction comparable to that in the Cincinnati area.
While Gov. Snyder didn’t say how much he wants to spend, which will come in his early-February state budget presentation, the Asian beetle effort will hinge on early detection, close inspection of foreign shipping containers, and public education.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture already inspects containers for pests that might harm traditional farm crops, and the state plans to help broaden the effort to include surveillance for other invaders.
The Asian longhorned beetle, native to Japan, Korea and China, probably arrived in the United States in the early 1990s in a shipping crate, according to the USDA.
Michigan usually ranks fifth nationally in maple syrup production at 90,000 gallons per year from 500 commercial producers and 2,000 hobby/home-use producers.
By acting promptly, Michigan hopes to have a better chance at stopping the Asian longhorned beetle than it did against the Emerald ash borer. The ash borer, which spread across the eastern one-third of the country, including Michigan, is the most destructive pest ever seen in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Source: “Gov vows to fight beetle seen as threat to Michigan maple trees,” The Detroit News