USDA Asks Area Residents to Report Signs of the Beetle and to Not Move Firewood
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) are inspecting trees in Hollywood, South Carolina following the detection and identification of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).
On May 29, a homeowner in Hollywood contacted DPI to report they found a dead beetle on their property and suspected it was ALB. A DPI employee collected the insect the same day and conducted a preliminary survey of the trees on the property. Clemson’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic provided an initial identification of ALB, and on June 4, APHIS’ National Identification Services confirmed the insect. On June 11, APHIS and DPI inspectors confirmed that one tree on the property is infested, and a second infested tree was found on an adjacent property.
Tree inspectors from APHIS and DPI are surveying trees in the eastern portion of Hollywood around the property where ALB was found. Inspectors will ask for permission from residents to survey trees on private properties before they conduct surveys. Inspectors are dressed in USDA or Clemson uniforms and will provide identification if asked.
Residents who live in the town of Hollywood can help by allowing officials access to their property to inspect trees. Residents in both the town of Hollywood and in surrounding communities are asked to look for the beetle and to examine their trees for any damage that may be caused by the beetle, such as dime-sized exit holes in tree trunks and branches. If possible, residents should take pictures and capture suspicious insects in a durable container and freeze them because this helps with identification. ALB is not harmful to people or pets. Residents can report the insect or tree damage by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or reporting online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.
First discovered in the United States in 1996, ALB is an invasive wood-boring beetle that threatens a wide variety of hardwood trees in North America, such as maples, elms, ash, poplars, and willows. In its larval stage, the insect feeds inside tree trunks and branches during the colder months creating tunnels as it feeds, then it chews its way out as an adult in the warmer months. Infested trees do not recover and eventually die. Infested trees can become safety hazards since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms.
South Carolina is the sixth state to detect an Asian longhorned beetle infestation. The beetle has previously been found in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Infestations have been eradicated in New Jersey and Illinois, and eradication efforts continue in New York, Massachusetts and Ohio.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). Please join APHIS to help protect the world’s crops, forests, gardens, and landscapes against invasive pests. Learn more by visiting www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/2020.