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Plant Protection Today - PPQ’s Ohio ALB Eradication Staff Continue to Win the Beetle Battle

PPQ’s Ohio ALB Eradication Staff Continue to Win the Beetle Battle
May 31, 2022

(Cover photo: In Ohio, PPQ Officer Brewster Frusher looks for signs of ALB in host trees using a high magnification fieldscope. Photo by USDA.)

USDA’s Eradication Strategies Are Working

By Sharon Lucik

The Asian longhorned beetle has a black body with white spots, striped antennae and blue feet. Last month PPQ’s Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program in Ohio celebrated another victory—the ALB quarantine is officially 7.5 square miles smaller! This invasive beetle from Asia is a destructive wood-boring pest that feeds on maple and other hardwoods, eventually killing them. After completing their final round of tree inspection surveys, the ALB staff reported no sign of the beetle in a portion of East Fork State Park in Clermont County, Ohio. 

“Inspecting ALB host trees is painstaking work, and the staff meticulously survey for the pest,” said ALB National Policy Manager Kathryn Bronsky. “It’s been three years since the last time we’ve lifted ALB quarantine restrictions in Ohio, and this is the first removal of the initial area placed under quarantine. That makes this success especially gratifying.” 

In 2018, there were two other smaller areas in Ohio removed from ALB quarantine; one in Monroe Township and the other that included adjacent portions of Batavia Township and Stonelick Township. Today PPQ and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) continue to regulate and conduct eradication activities in the remaining 49-square-mile ALB quarantine in Tate Township, and portions of Batavia and Williamsburg townships and East Fork State Park. 

PPQ and ODA staff use an integrated approach to eradicate ALB. This includes establishing quarantines, inspecting trees, removing infested trees, sometimes removing at-risk host trees or using insecticide treatments, and conducting outreach. Residents can help by allowing eradication program officials property access to inspect and remove trees, hiring tree or landscape companies that have compliance agreements with the eradication program, and checking trees and reporting signs of damage and the beetle.

“ALB eradication is a team effort, and we count on everyone working together to eliminate this invasive tree killer,” Bronsky said. “We have a tremendous partnership with Ohio’s Department of Agriculture, contractors, industry, and area residents, so I’m confident ALB Program successes will continue.”  

Savvy Public Plays Critical Role in ALB Program 

Five times alert residents, not agricultural officials, have detected signs of new ALB infestations—in Brooklyn, NY; Worcester and Boston, MA; Bethel, OH; and most recently in Hollywood, SC!  This shows how critical raising public awareness can be. With no cure, early identification and eradication are critical to combatting the ALB and saving trees.

ALBs leave many clues on or near infested trees, here’s what you can look for:

  • Round holes at least three-eighths of an inch in diameter, where adult beetles chewed their way out of the tree
  • Pits on the bark that female beetles chew to deposit their eggs
  • Accumulation of sawdust-like material (insect waste) around the base of the tree or branches
  • Dieback in the tree canopy, or an unseasonable change in leaf color

Round holes

Round holes

Pits on bark

Pits on bark

Sawdust-like material

Sawdust-like material

Dieback

Dieback

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