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Michigan State collecting data at Island Park

ALPENA, Mich. — Michigan State University is currently collecting data from Alpena’s own Island Park. Researchers have planted bug traps around the park to monitor the species in the area.

While they’re not hoping to find any, they’re watching for species that aren’t native to Michigan. One example is the Asian Longhorned Beetle, which has been found in Ontario, and our nearby states Illinois and Ohio.

Research Technician with Michigan State, Paige Payter says these bugs could have devastating effects on Michigan’s environment, including the state’s maple trees. “Losing a large population of trees like that would be devastating to Michigan as a whole and the economy as well,” she said. “So, if it does get here, we’ll do what we need to do and keep it out.”

These traps are meant to be used as early indicators of non–native bugs so action can be quickly taken. Unfortunately, if they are discovered, trees in the area will need to be cut down, but Payter says it would be worth it in the long run. “No one likes to see big beautiful trees get cut down and not even get turned into anything, but you have to make sure if it’s detected that you’re removing any kind of tree that could potentially become a host for it,” said Payter.

The traps are usually placed in May and are checked once a month.