The Asian Longhorned Beetle

“No one I think is in my tree…”

As word circles in the industry about the USDA’s $14.8M contribution to the battle of the beetle, we are reminded to be diligent ourselves.  

The short story…

It is believed the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), native to China, Japan and Korea, made its way to the US in solid wood packing material used in shipping transport. It was first discovered here in 1996, and has since been found in Canada and several European countries as well. The ALB has been found in four states in the US: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio.

Female ALB’s lay their eggs (up to 90 each) in summer and fall under the bark of hardwood trees. Each female will lay all of her eggs in one tree, but each egg in a different spot on the tree. The eggs hatch, the larvae burrow further into the tree where they mature and feed on the woody tissue of the tree over the winter. In the spring, the new beetles dig their way out of the trees and move on, each leaving a tunnel and a small, round hole in the tree. In so doing, these beetles wreak havoc on our trees weakening them one by one, and threatening whole forests.

The new funding from the USDA will help surveyors in Clermont County, OH (an area hard hit), increase their tree surveys, determine the extent of the infestation and remove infested trees in a timely manner.

The best way to combat the ALB is to be aware, be on the lookout, and report any beetles or tree activity we see. It’s not a difficult insect to spot – pretty big and pretty unique.

An image of an Asian Longhorned Beetle. Males and females look the same.
Image courtesy of The Ledger Independent.

You can also spot tree activity in the summer and fall when the females are carving out little egg-laying sites, or in the spring when the young make their way out of the trees.

Egg-laying sites and exit holes in a hardwood tree.
Image courtesy of RI Dept of Environmental Management.
Frass left behind by new ALB

Here’s a list of tree species the ALB’s like most:

Trees susceptible to the ravages of ALB's.

For more information on the Asian Longhorned Beetle, the efforts to eradicate it from our hardwoods, and the many ways you can help, please go to Beetle Busters.

Title quote from “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles; the Magical Mystery Tour album, 1967.