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Company develops immunization for trees to stop Asian Beetle infestation

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BETHEL, Ohio - A local vineyard owner and wine maker called a company, based in Michigan, to demonstrate how trees can be immunized from Asian Longhorn Beetle infestations.

Bill Skvarla owns 70 acres in Clermont County, and he found the first infestation of the Asian Longhorn Beetle in Ohio on his property.  He estimates that he has up to 7,000 trees at risk of being destroyed by Ohio's Department of Agriculture's culling program.

The department is cutting down, chipping, and removing stumps of infested trees and trees that are possibly infested.  Skvarla agrees with eliminating trees that cannot be saved.

"That has to be done," said Skvarla.  "There's not doubt about that."

That is where Skvarla wants the tree culling to stop. He found a company based in Michigan called Arborjet, that has developed an immunization process against the Asian Longhorn Beetle.

Hole are drilled at the base of the tree's trunk.  A tube is then inserted inside and a pesticide is injected.  Joe Aiken is a representative with the company and explained that the chemical would make its way to the canopy of the tree within a day or two.

"If anything lands on the tree, lays its eggs and tries to fee and tunnel into the tree, will come in contact with the pesticide and die," said Aiken.

The method will not do a tree any good should it already be infested.  The idea, though is to keep healthy trees healthy and not destroyed by suspicion.

"We stand to lose… another 5,000-6,000 trees on my farm by the time it's all said and done," explained Skvarla of the state's culling practice.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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