Agriculture chief updates committee on efforts to eradicate insect pests

TRENTON – First the good news.

Agriculture Department Secretary Doug Fischer said Tuesday the state’s second Asian longhorned beetle infestation, which was responsible for destroying a great deal of maple and shade trees, has been “completely eradicated.”

Now the bad news; there are still other pests out there wreaking havoc around the Garden State, particularly the marmorated stink bug and the emerald ash borer.

The department is studying ways and methods to combat the long-running stink bug problem. It can inflict economic damage because of the ability to ruin large amounts of produce.

“We are currently raising a colony of them at the insect lab so that we can determine the most effective beneficial insects to combat the stink bug and reduce its population,” Fischer told Assembly Budget Committee members.

The battle against the stink bug has been an ongoing fight for several years, but the emerald ash borer insect has made its way here as well. The department said it’s taking as active an approach as possible to control if not eradicate that population.

“We are surrounded now by states that have reported infestations of the emerald ash borer and we will be involved in that battle as well,” Fischer said.

A department paper said that New Jersey farmers lose $290 million annually from direct crop loss or damage caused by agricultural pests, or the costs to control those pests.


  Agriculture chief updates committee on efforts to eradicate insect pests