The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announce that surveys are under way in Bethel, Ohio, after the June 9 detection and June 17 identification of the Asian longhorned beetle. Bethel is located 30 miles southeast of Cincinnati.
First discovered in the U.S. in 1996, Asian longhorned beetles attack several species of trees including maple, willow, horsechestnut, buckeye, and American elm. While in its larvae stage, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) kills trees by tunneling into large branches and the trunk.
Ohio is the fifth state to detect ALB, which APHIS confirmed in Bethel after a citizen reported finding unusual damage in three maple trees to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry service forester. Previous infestations sites, where the beetles are being successfully contained, include Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
APHIS and ODA inspection crews are surveying the southern portion of Bethel and the surrounding area to determine the extent of the ALB infestation. Crews will inspect host tree species susceptible to ALB for signs of the wood-boring beetle using ground surveyors and specially trained tree climbers.
APHIS and the ODA are working cooperatively with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the town of Bethel to evaluate the scope of the infestation and to inform the public about the exotic, invasive pest.
The invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) grows, reproduces in, and kills deciduous hardwood trees such as maple, birch, horse chestnut, poplar, willow, elm, and ash. The ALB is from east Asian countries such as China and Japan, and is known to come into the U.S. in crates and pallets used to import goods from those countries. In addition to the just-declared Ohio ALB infestation, there are currently ALB eradication efforts underway in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. It has been successfully eradicated in Chicago.
If not controlled, the ALB could decimate maple trees in Ohio, impacting up to $200 billion worth of standing timber, adversely affecting maple sugar processors, damaging the state’s multi-billion dollar nursery industry, and diminishing Ohio’s popular fall foliage season. The USDA Forest Service cites more than 7 billion board feet of maple wood currently standing in Ohio.
Citizens can help by reporting sightings of an unusual beetle and any signs of infestation to a designated, toll free hotline 855-252-6450.