Asian Longhorned Beetle
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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I know about the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and why is it a threat to our trees?

What does this beetle look like?

Where did it come from and where was it first found?

In which states has it been found?

Why is the government trying to eradicate this beetle?

How is the beetle being eradicated?

What is the US government doing to prevent new introductions?

What can YOU, the general public, do to help?

What trees are being planted to replace those that were removed?



What should I know and why is it a threat?

    What You Should Know about the Asian Longhorned Beetle

    ALB was first discovered in the US in Brooklyn, New York, in August 1996. It was later detected in Chicago, Illinois, in July 1998. In October 2002, ALB was found in New Jersey and a month earlier, Toronto, Ontario Canada. In August 2008, ALB was discovered in Worcester County, Massachusetts, and in July 2010, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The most recent infestation is in Clermont County, Ohio, discovered June 2011. Due to massive quarantine efforts, in 2008, ALB was declared eradicated in Chicago, Illinois. In early 2013, ALB was declared eradicated from New Jersey and Canada.

    Why is it a threat to our trees? 

    • Attacks many tree species.   ALB attacks many hardwood trees, such as maple, elm, horsechestnut, ash, birch, poplar, willow and many more.  These trees represent many billions of dollars to the U.S. economy by supplying lumber, wood products, maple syrup, and promoting tourism (see Host Trees).
    • Kills Trees.  ALB kills young and mature trees by tunneling within the trunk and branches, disrupting sap flow and weakening the tree.
    • Potentially disrupts forest.  Because this beetle attacks many different tree species, it could significantly disrupt the forest ecosystem, if it became established over a large area.
    • No controls.  No chemical or biological control methods are currently known, although the USDA - APHIS is conducting experiments testing the effectiveness of some insecticides.  (see Management)
    • Thousands of trees have been cut down and destroyed to eradicate this pest.

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    What does this beetle look like?
    Adult beetles are large (3/4 – 1 . long) with very long black and white banded antennae.  The body is jet black with white spots.  They can be seen from June to November.


    The larvae are whitish grubs that feed within the tree.

    See Biology and Identification

     

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    Where did it come from and where was it first found?
    • Far East. This beetle is native to China and Korea  It causes major damage of poplar plantations in China, where they are unable to control this pest.
    • It was first found infesting trees in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York in August 1996.  It is believed that ALB entered the U.S. in wood pallets holding pipe shipped from China for a sewer project in the late 1980s.
    • In September 1996 an infestation was also found in Amityville, NY, several miles east of the Greenpoint infestation.  It is thought that this infestation occurred as a result of movement of infested wood from Greenpoint.

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    .
    In which states has it been found?
    • Interceptions. ALB or other exotic longhorned beetles have been intercepted in several warehouses and ports (NOT infesting trees). Some states (cities) and listed below:
                California (Hawthorne, Los Angeles, South Gate)
                Florida (Ft. Lauderdale)
                Hawaii (Honolulu)
                Illinois (Martin Grove)
                Indiana (Indianapolis, Porter County)
                Michigan (Lansing, Warren,)
                New Jersey (Mahwah, New Brunswick, Secaucus, Linden, Cream Ridge, Camden)
                New York (Rochester, Jamestown)
                North Carolina (Charlotte)
                Ohio (Cincinnati)
                Pennsylvania (Lycoming Co., Sinking Springs)
                Texas (Houston)
                Washington (Bellingham, Seattle)
                Wisconsin (Madison)

         

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    Why is the government trying to eradicate this beetle?


    • Impact. If it becomes established in this country it could significantly impact our natural forest and urban environment.
    • Limited Infestation Size.  Infestations are limited in size at this time, and the federal government still believes ALB can be eliminated completely if action is taken now!

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    How is the beetle being eradicated?
    • Quarantines. Quarantines have been established around infested areas to prevent accidental spread of ALB by people.
    • Infested trees cut, chipped and burned.  All infested trees are being removed, chipped in place, and the chips are being burned.  The stumps of infested trees are ground to below the soil level. All tree removal is done by certified tree care personnel to ensure that the process is completed properly.
    • Insecticide treatments.  Research is underway way to determine the effectiveness of certian insecticides against ALB (read more).  Insecticidal treatments have begun in New York and Chicago in hopes of preventing and containing infestations.
    • Extensive surveys.  All host trees on public and private property located within an established distance from an infested area are surveyed by trained local, state, or federal personnel.  Infested areas will be re-surveyed at least once per year for 3-5 years after the last beetle or infested tree is found.


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    What is the US government doing to prevent new introductions?

    What is Being Done? Download one-page PDF [2005]
    • Increased inspection. APHIS PPQ (Plant Protection and Quarantine) officials inspect a large percentage of incoming baggage, cargo, and mail at all US ports.
    • Stress on public awareness.  Increased awareness of ALB among government employees, industry, cooperators, and the general public (see Prevention in the Management ).

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    What can YOU, the general public, do to help?
    Check the following trees for signs of ALB:

    • Backyard trees, Street trees, All hardwoods except oak, All young trees - even shrubs, but NOT conifers (evergreens)
    What you need:
    • All you need is your keen vision.  If available, binoculars are helpful.

    How do you do it?

    1. Pick a sunny day.  ALB and its damage are hard to see in the rain or on a cloudy day.  Damage can be spotted any time of the year.  Adult ALB are normally active from June to December.

    2. Slowly circle the tree standing about 5 ft. from the trunk.  Scan lower branches and the trunk for signs of damage.

    3. Stand in one convenient spot and slowly scan the trunk and branches for damage, all the way to the top.  Use binoculars if available.

    4. Move 1/4 of the way around the tree and repeat step 3.

    5. Repeat step 4 until the whole tree is surveyed.

    6 If you see an ALB, catch it in a jar.  If you see what looks like ALB damage, note the street location and where the damage is on the tree.  Then immediately call your state ALB contact.


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    What trees are being planted to replace those that were removed?


    Trees Removed (ALB host species):
    Click here to view the latest host list

    • Highly Preferred:  Boxelder, Red maple, Sugar maple, Horsechestnut, Norway maple, Sycamore maple, Silver maple, American elm
    • Moderately Preferred:  Willows, Poplars, Birches, Alders
    • Rarely Attacked:  Mimosa, White ash, London plane, Green ash, Rose of Sharon
    What trees are being planted to replace the removed ALB infested trees:
      Serviceberry or Shadbush, Ironwood, Southern catalpa, Hackberry, Turkish filbert, Ginkgo, honeylocust, Kentucky coffeetree, Tuliptree, Dawn redwood, White oak, Swamp white oak, Bur oak, English oak, Japanese lilac, Bald cypress, Basswood, Littleleaf linden.

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