What You Need to Know about the Asian Longhorned Beetle

Keeping your trees healthy is difficult enough without invasive and destructive species trying to make a home inside them. One of the most dangerous of these invasive species is the Asian longhorned beetle. As a tree lover, you need to understand this pest and what you can do to help stop their spread.

The First Invasion

The first identification of the Asian longhorned beetle was in 1996, when they were spotted on some trees in Brooklyn, New York. By then, the beetle had made a pretty firm foothold, so there's no telling when they actually arrived.

Scientists speculate that they first arrived in packing cases shipped from China. As a result, common ports such as Chicago and Toronto, Canada, have been infested with the longhorned beetle. Outbreaks have also been spotted in Worcester, Massachusetts and Bethel, a small town in Ohio.

The latter was a particularly devastating infestation: in April of 2015, a total of 65,300 trees had been removed from the area due to damage caused by the Asian longhorned beetle. A further 26,000 were treated with pesticides.

The Damage

Tree damage caused by the Asian longhorn can be extreme. While the adult beetle isn't particularly menacing to trees, its larva are. Once they are hatched, Asian longhorned beetle larva dig their way into the heart of the tree. They go beyond several layers of bark to find the food and water storage areas.

Then the the larva will feed. If it was just one larvae, it might not be a problem. But an infestation of hundreds can cause serious defects in the tree's structure by killing the cambial layer. And after the beetle has reached full maturity, it digs its way out. This leaves multiple pen-sized holes that leave the tree open for infection and disease.

The Control Methods

Pest control authorities are currently implementing a wide range of control methods to stop the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle and hopefully eliminate it. Common Asian long-horned beetle control methods include

  • Better port inspections to spot the beetle
  • Quarantines in infested zones
  • Destroying infested trees
  • Application of pesticides

A scent-based pesticide is currently one of the most promising methods of longhorn control. This method, reported on by NatureWorldNews.com, uses secretions from the beetle to attract them to a deadly poison.

What You Can Do

If you are concerned about the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle, you should avoid moving firewood from its original location. Beetles and other damaging insects often get moved to new areas in pieces of old wood, causing a widening of their natural habitat.

In fact, many states, such as New York, have made it illegal to move firewood over a certain distance from its source. Other states, such as Rhode Island, have actually banned out-of-state firewood.

If you think your tree has been infested by these insects, call a tree removal specialist like Tidd Tree immediately. While they may be able to trim away infested branches without destroying the tree, removal and destruction of the tree can help eliminate some of the problem.