WEST BABYLON - The Asian longhorned beetle, which is capable of decimating decades-old trees, has been found once again in Suffolk County.
The black-and-white beetle has been blamed for destroying more than 20,000 trees across New York state and hundreds across Long Island.
West Babylon resident James Yearsley was on a stroll through his neighborhood with his wife and daughter a couple of weeks ago when he spotted one on a tree. The family called the town, and tree trimmers were quickly sent to investigate.
A total of seven infested trees were found. The Department of Agriculture scrawled orange marks on the trees, which will be chopped down and burned to pieces to contain the beetles.
"This was an early infestation, and the state has really been on top of trying to keep them from spreading," says Brian Zitani, with the Town of Babylon. "They do kill the tree and our biggest issue is that the trees that they like make up majority of the trees on Long Island, mostly maples."
Matthew Roach, with the Asian Longhorned Beetle Program, says 700 trees near the Republic Airport in Farmingdale had to be cut down three years ago because of the beetles. He says that area is the epicenter of the Island's infestation.
The Department of Agriculture is asking residents to keep an eye out for the beetles.