Public’s Help Needed to Stop the Invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle in its Tracks
Rhonda Santos, 508-852-8044
Suzanne Bond, 301-851-4070
Washington D.C., July 31, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to remind the public that August is Tree Check Month. This is the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB); a highly destructive invasive pest that destroys trees.
“If you love trees, now is the time to take 10 minutes and go outside and look for the signs of this invasive pest,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ national operations manager for the ALB eradication program. “Look for round holes the size of a dime or smaller in tree trunks and branches. If you see them or black beetles that have long antennas with black and white bands, report them immediately.”
The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of acres of America's treasured hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar trees. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to save infested trees. They need to be removed to keep the beetle from spreading to nearby trees, as well as to protect homes and other personal property since infested trees will die and can drop branches.
“Trees infested by the beetle weaken and die over time and are more likely to fall or lose branches during high winds and storms,” added Ryan. “Since we’re in hurricane season, it’s wise to remove trees sooner than later. It’s possible to eradicate this destructive pest, but we need the public’s help to do so. To date, the beetle has been eradicated from Illinois and New Jersey.”
The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an infestation, so early detection and reporting is critical to containing it. People can also help by not moving firewood from areas quarantined because of ALB, which can transport the beetle hidden inside to new areas.
The beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:
Signs of infestation include:
After seeing signs of the beetle:
The ALB was first detected in the United States in Brooklyn, New York, in 1996. It is believed to have come from wooden packing material used in cargo shipments from China. Since then, it has led to the loss of more than 160,000 trees.
For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle, ways to keep it from spreading and eradication program activities, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com and www.HungryPests.com. For local inquiries or to be forwarded to your State Plant Health Director, call 1-866-702-9938.
More About ALB Eradication Efforts
The Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program began in 1996 as a cooperative effort between Federal and State agencies. Together, these partnering agencies establish quarantines to restrict the movement of regulated commerce materials, inspect trees from the ground and air, remove infested and high-risk trees within a quarantine area, and conduct research to improve eradication methods. To date, APHIS and its partners have successfully eliminated the beetle in Illinois, New Jersey, portions of New York (Manhattan, Staten Island and Islip) and in Boston, Massachusetts. Current infestations are being fought in New York (Kings, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties), Ohio (Clermont County) and Massachusetts (Worcester County).
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