The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is a wood-boring insect native to China and Korea. It was first seen in the US in the mid-1990s, possibly introduced on shipping crates or in wooden packing materials. It has spread to new areas since its initial detection. To date, it has not been found in the SLELO-PRISM.
This beetle targets many species of hardwood trees, including birch, elm, horse chestnut, maple, sycamore, and willow.
ALB larvae bore through the woody tissue of many species of hardwood. This disrupts the flow of nutrients and water through the tree. Eventually, the tree weakens and dies from the infestation.
Because the ALB targets several species of hardwood, the impacts of its infestation could be severe. Hardwood trees are used for lumber, furniture, and to build homes. Maple syrup production could also be impacted. Most of our local, state and federal parks contain many of these species. Backyards, gardens, and nursery stock will also be affected.
Asian long-horned beetles have four life stages. Adult females chew depressions into the bark and lay eggs into these depressions. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat into the tree, boring a tunnel as they feed on the wood. These tunnels, also called galleries, create gaps in the wood, making it hard for nutrients and water to flow from the roots to the crown. This causes the tree to weaken over time and, eventually, die.
The larvae pupate under the bark layer and emerge as adult beetles. The adults chew through the bark to get out of the tree, creating 3/8 inch, round holes that may ooze sap or sawdust, called frass. (The holes can look similar to holes made by maple syrup spiles, which are usually located at breast height around a tree.)
Adult ALBs are 1 to 1/2 inches long. They are black with white spots and a very long antennae. Their feet are bluish. Adults can be seen from June through October. They spend this time finding mates and laying eggs.
To control the ALB, host trees are removed and destroyed. Areas, where it is found, are quarantined. Watch “Lurking in the Trees”, a video that shows what happened in Wooster, Mass. when ALB was found there. The video was produced by the Hamburger Company and can be found at the top of the page.
Don’t Move Firewood! Since 2009, NY State has regulated the transport of untreated firewood within the state to under 50 miles. When camping or traveling, “Burn it Where You Buy It!” to prevent the spread of ALB and other harmful insects.
Title photo: Long Island Press https://www.longislandpress.com/2014/07/09/tree-eating-asian-longhorned-beetle-back-on-long-island/.Identification photo: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/node/2558.
Informative Video Short: Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America’s forests
Sentinel Plant Network: Detection and Diagnosis of Significant Plant Pests and Disease: view videos
NYIS: ALB page: http://www.nyis.info/index.php?action=invasive_detail&id=26
USDA APHIS: ALB page: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/asian_lhb/index.shtml
Don’t Move Firewood: Gallery of Pests: http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/gallery-of-pests/asian-long-horned-beetle.html