The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declares August as “Tree Check Month” for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). USDA and its partners are asking the residents of Ohio, particularly Clermont County, to check their trees for this invasive insect and the damage it causes and limit the movement of ALB-host materials, such as firewood. August is the most important time of year to look for the beetle because it is when people are most likely to see adult beetles.
“You can help us protect more trees and eliminate the beetle from the United States. If you take a walk, take a look,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “The sooner we spot the beetle, the sooner we can help stop its spread.”
The ALB is an invasive, wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in North America, such as maples, elms, buckeyes, birches, and willows. Infested trees do not recover and eventually die. Infested trees also become safety hazards since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms. In its larval stage, the insect feeds inside tree trunks and branches, creating tunnels as it feeds, then adults chew their way out in the warmer months, leaving about .75-inch round exit holes. Once they exit a tree, they feed on its leaves and bark before mating and laying eggs, which creates another generation of tree-killing beetles.
The adult beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:
- A shiny black body with white spots that is about 1 inch to 1.5 inches long.
- Black and white antennae that are longer than the insect’s body.
- Six legs and feet that can appear bluish in color.
Signs that a tree might be infested include:
- Round exit holes in tree trunks and branches about the size of a dime or smaller.
- Egg sites that are shallow, oval or round wounds in the bark where sap might weep.
- Sawdust-like material called frass found on the ground around the tree or on the branches.
- Branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.
Help to stop the spread of the ALB and eliminate it by checking trees and limiting the movement of ALB-host materials, such as firewood. Doing this keeps infestations from spreading to new locations.
Those who think they found a beetle or tree damage can report it by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or submitting an online report at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.
Try to photograph the ALB or tree damage. If possible, capture the beetle in a durable container and freeze it, which helps preserve the insect for identification. Then report it.
If living in an ALB quarantine area, please keep the tree-killing pest from spreading. Follow state and federal laws, which restrict the movement of woody material and untreated firewood that could be infested.
It is possible to eradicate ALB. The ALB program eradicated beetle infestations in Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; New Jersey; Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Islip in New York; and a portion of East Fork State Park, and Stonelick and Monroe townships in Ohio.
For more information about the ALB and the eradication efforts, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com. For local inquiries or to speak to your USDA State Plant Health Director, call 1-866-702-9938.