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Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It

By: Loree Griffin Burns

Illustrator: Ellen Harasimowicz

Invasive Asian longhorned beetles are bad at flying but very good at killing trees. Residents of Worcester, Massachusetts, are currently working to contain the devastation of their hardwood forest. Author's note. Suggestions for further resources. Glossary. Bibliography. Index. Full-color maps, diagrams, and photographs.

ISBN: 9780547792675

JLG Release: Feb 2015


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Asian longhorned beetle , Beetles , Infestations , Invasive species , Scientists , Forests , Trees , Worcester, Massachusetts , Resident participation , Data collection , Eradication efforts

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Awards & Honors

Booklist 2014 Top 10 Books for Youth, Science & Health; Booklist Editors’ Choice 2014, Nonfiction, Middle Readers; Booklist Lasting Connections 2014, Science; Booklist 2015 Top 10 Books for Youth, Sustainability; NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2015; 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books, Commended, Middle Grades

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
They arrived unseen, burrowed in wooden pallets, spools, and crates, aboard ships from China. The first group spotted in the United States, in Brooklyn, NY, was contained, and quickly taken care of, but since then infestations have been discovered from Massachusetts to Illinois, and as far north as Canada. They’re
[STARRED REVIEW]
They arrived unseen, burrowed in wooden pallets, spools, and crates, aboard ships from China. The first group spotted in the United States, in Brooklyn, NY, was contained, and quickly taken care of, but since then infestations have been discovered from Massachusetts to Illinois, and as far north as Canada. They’re Asian longhorned beetles, pests with “powerful jaws and a taste for wood” and the frightening potential to eat their way through North American forests. Griffin takes readers alongside a team of dedicated scientists and citizen volunteers working to eradicate this invasive species in a quarantined area in Worchester County, MA. Along the way, she explains how the creatures can go undetected for years (their life cycle begins inside trees, which keeps them heavily camouflaged) and offers information that early studies on the creature have yielded—not all of it hopeful. Abundant, close-up, color photos of the insect (from egg to pupa to mature adult), damaged trees, onsite workers, and informative labeled diagrams and maps help tell this disquieting story. Burns questions the approach of the scientists she followed and both admires and “trusts.” But for her, the story is also personal. The author lives within the quarantined area in Massachusetts and has seen firsthand areas where swatches of infested (and other) trees have been cut down. Her questions about the method employed will leave readers asking some of their own—as they should. A timely, well-told story and a call to action.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Horn Book

From Asian carp to zebra mussels, invasive species can adversely affect our ecosystems and economy. Such is the case with the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) that threatens no less an ecosystem than “the entire northeastern hardwood forest.” The destruction begins when the female ALB lays up to twenty-five eggs in individual pits she carv From Asian carp to zebra mussels, invasive species can adversely affect our ecosystems and economy. Such is the case with the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) that threatens no less an ecosystem than “the entire northeastern hardwood forest.” The destruction begins when the female ALB lays up to twenty-five eggs in individual pits she carves into a tree. Once hatched, the larva bores its way deeper into the tree and remains there, growing steadily for up to two years; eventually the adult beetle chews its way out of the now-damaged tree. The cycle repeats and repeats and repeats, with ALB spreading like, er, kudzu. In Worcester, Massachusetts, Burns follows scientists and city residents who are looking for a way to eradicate this pest by employing the scientific method. They’ve hypothesized that taking the drastic step of destroying all of Worcester’s infected trees—i.e., the ALB habitat—will eradicate the beetle. But they’re not sure—a strong reminder to readers that a hypothesis is not a solution but part of a reasoned trial. Clear photographs, charts, diagrams, and a straightforward text with appropriate scientific vocabulary outline the problem, from the beetle’s invasion and difficult discovery to the trees’ destruction and replanting. Burns stresses that the success or failure of this project will take years to determine, showing that science is often less eureka-moment outcome and more slow process. Appended with a glossary, a bibliography, an author’s note, recommended further research, and an index. betty carter

Book Details

ISBN

9780547792675

First Release

February 2015

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

595.76/48

Trim Size

Page Count

64

Accelerated Reader

Level 7.3; Points: 2;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 9.4; Points: 5;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Asian longhorned beetle, Beetles, Infestations, Invasive species, Scientists, Forests, Trees, Worcester, Massachusetts, Resident participation, Data collection, Eradication efforts,

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