Citizen Science-Pool Owner Participation

Citizen Science-Pool Owner Participation

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has recently launched a new program to help identify and therefore possibly control the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB) infestation in the state. This effort is aimed at getting citizens more heavily involved with identifying and reporting the presence of the invasive pest, specifically those citizens with pools on their property. The Citizen Pool Survey is taking place now through the end of the summer when ALB adults emerge and become visible and active.

The DEC is asking that pool owners keep a vigilant watch for the destructive pests that have been destroying forest and street trees. In July, New York’s governor announced the state’s first Invasive Species week which aimed to educate citizens on the effects invasive species have on the environment and how they can help control the problem. The swimming pool survey is an extension of this effort. Monitoring swimming pools is a straightforward, fiscally efficient method for building upon current procedures and extending the monitoring range. Giving citizens ownership over the invasive species issues makes them feel accountable and motivates people to assist with the solution; actively participating by monitoring their trees, yards, community green spaces and forests.

In order to participate in the Swimming Pool Survey one needs a pool, a digital camera and the ability to upload photos and an active email address. Instructions for participation in the New York DEC Citizen Swimming Pool Survey are as follows:

Step 1: From July 24 – August 29 (when adults are active), at least once a week, or when you clean your pool, check the debris collected in your filter and skimmers.
Step 2: Look for the ALB (See what it looks like on DEC’s ALB web page). Contact the forest health program (see phone number and email address below) and we will provide a sheet to help identify insects collected.
Step 3: Take a picture of any insect you think might be an ALB.
Step 4: Once a week send a photo of the insect that looks most like ALB. (DEC would like to hear from you once a week.)
Step 5: Send the photo to
Step 6: Freeze the insect in a plastic container until DEC staff respond (typically that will be about a week). Staff will either instruct you to discard the insect or give instructions on mailing it, delivering it, or arranging for pick-up.

To sign up for the survey, please contact:

NYSDEC Forest Health Program
Attn: Jessica Cancelliere
Phone: 518.478.7813

You can still help even if you don’t have a pool, photos of ALB sightings are always a welcome addition to the DEC’s ever expanding compilation. So if you make a positive ID on an Asian longhorned beetle, photograph it and send it over to the DEC at the same address as above. Photos of the emerald ash borer are also being requested and can be sent to the address above.  And if you are not located in New York State, but live in one of the other states afflicted with Asian longhorned beetle (New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts or Ohio) checking your swimming pool filter, monitoring your yard, trees. community and forest is highly recommended. If you can photograph these pests, do so and get the information to your state’s environmental agency.  Help from residents is critical in gaining control over destructive invasive pests and protecting our agricultural and environmental resources, tourism industry, wildlife and community health.