- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state has a message for the southern pine beetle: You can go no further.

The state on Wednesday announced $500,000 in funding to help Long Island communities remove and replace trees infested with the invasive insect.

Since it was first spotted in 2014 the beetle has killed thousands of pine trees on Long Island.

The money comes from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos says the money is an investment in efforts to fight the beetle and ensure they do not spread into the central pine barrens.

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