Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review of "Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It," by Loree Griffin Burns

Review of
Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It, by Loree Griffin Burns ISBN 9780547792675

Five out of five stars
 From the time that humans started traveling the world, invasive species have been a problem, causing enormous environmental damage. The species range from the fungus that destroyed chestnut trees in the eastern United States to the red imported fire ant that causes an estimated $5 billion worth of damage in the United States each year to the giant Burmese pythons that are systematically killing all the small game in the Florida Everglades.
 This book is about the Asian long horned beetle (ALB) and the damage it is doing to hardwood trees in the northeastern United States. Females dig out nests to lay their eggs and when the larvae hatch they bore deep into the tree, where they can stay and feed for over  a year. Once they reach adulthood they exit the tree, leaving a circular hole in the bark. If enough of the ALBs infect a tree, it can be weakened to the point that it dies.
 Unfortunately, the only countermeasure against the ALB is to cut the infected trees down and grind all the wood up into fine particles. Fortunately, the ALB does not travel well by itself, it needs assistance if it is to travel any significant distance.
 This book is an excellent introduction to the dangers of invasive species. Written at the level of the late elementary school student, it points out the need for citizen scientists to aid in data gathering as well as vigilance in reporting suspected infestations. Invasive species are a global problem and children need to be educated regarding this ongoing environmental problem, for the costs continue to run in the billions every year.

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