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Volunteers sought to assess beetle pest

INDIANAPOLIS – The Nature Conservancy is trying to enlist Indiana residents in a campaign to keep a damaging beetle from spreading into the state's forests.

The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are enlisting volunteers to survey the state for signs of infestations of the Asian longhorned beetle.

The Nature Conservancy's Indiana chapter says the beetle could wreak havoc on the state's fragile natural areas if it gets a foothold in Indiana's forests.

The larvae of the invasive beetle are fond of maple, birch, horsechestnut, willow and elm trees. The trees die when the beetles tunnel through them.

Officials believe the longhorned beetle arrived in the United States inside solid wood packing material from Asia. Since then, infestations have been reported in four states.