Asian Longhorned Beetle Threatens Trees

Asian beetles have destroyed tens of thousands of hardwood trees to be destroyed in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Illinois.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working closely with state partners and affected communities to stop the beetle before it can do any more harm.

“Community support is essential if we are going to be successful in eradicating this pest. Together, we can stop this beetle,” said Brendon Reardon, national program manager, Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program. “The common phrase ‘If you see something, say something’ is crucial to the success of eradicating the ALB. Continued vigilance is critical.”

The beetle has no known natural predator in the United States. It threatens urban and suburban shade trees, recreation and forest resources throughout the country.

If the ALB becomes established here, it has the potential to cause more damage than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight and gypsy moth combined.

The recreation, timber, nursery and maple syrup industries, alone, could suffer severe losses, not to mention environmental and ecological impacts. The 13 trees the insect is known to infest make up a sizeable portion of the trees in our nation. Those trees include ash, birch, elm, golden rain, hackberry, horse chestnut, katsura, London planetree, maple, mimosa, Mountain ash, poplar and willow.

“The public is our first line of defense,” said Reardon. “Whether you’re camping, fishing, hiking or just relaxing in the backyard, we need your eyes to be on the lookout for signs of damage and the insect itself. Please inspect your trees at home regularly, and look for the ALB when you go on your camping excursions. Also, please be aware of the risks of transporting forest pests when moving firewood.”

Adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall. They can be seen on trees, branches, walls, outdoor furniture, cars, and sidewalks. While the ALB may appear threatening, it is harmless to humans and pets. With these unique characteristics, adult beetles are easy to identify. Here’s what to look for.

• 1 inch to 1½ inches in length

• long antennae banded in black and white (longer than the insect’s body)

• shiny, jet-black body with random white spots

• six legs

• legs may appear bluish in color

In addition to looking for the ALB, you can search for signs of infestation, including:

• shallow divots in the bark, where the eggs are laid

• dime-sized (1/4 inch or larger), perfectly round exit holes in the tree

• sawdust-like material, called frass, on the ground and the branches

• sap seeping from wounds in the tree

If you see any sign or symptom of an Asian longhorned beetle infestation, report it immediately. Visit to report a sighting or for more information, or call 1-866-702-9938.

— United States Department of Agriculture

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