COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A move to quarantine areas infested by Asian Longhorned Beetles in South Carolina is advancing to full committee in the South Carolina House.
Researchers with Clemson University say a quarantine is necessary to aid eradication efforts, prevent additional pest spread, and save many trees that have not yet been affected by the beetles.
State and Federal officials began conducting surveys in Charleston County last summer after the invasive species was discovered for the first time in the state.
They said the beetle was found by a homeowner in the Town of Hollywood.
Researchers say the Asian Longhorned Beetle, or ALB, is a wood-boring beetle that threatens a variety of hardwood trees like maple, elm, ash, sycamore, poplar and willow.
The USDA announced in November of 2020 a plan to remove thousands of infested trees in the county.
Officials say once infested, the trees do not recover and eventually die. They also become safety hazards, since branches can drop, and trees fall over, especially during storms like hurricanes or from ice in the winter months.
At the time, officials had quarantined 58.6 square miles within Charleston County.
Clemson researchers say issuing quarantines will protect uninfested areas and trees from the negative impacts associated with the beetle.
The quarantine will also stabilize accompanying eradication efforts so that in the long term, the quarantined areas can respawn with these native trees.