August is the USDA’s Tree Check Month #TreeCheck2015. You can participate and help by taking just 10 minutes to walk around your yard or neighborhood to check your trees for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). The beetle is most likely to be seen during this time as it is now emerging from trees.
ALB has led to the loss of more than 130,000 trees in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Illinois since it was first discovered in the United States in 1996. It arrived in packing materials from Asia. The insect travels on vehicles within an infested area, by branch cutting and translocation, roadside dumping of tree waste, and transporting firewood.
Many varieties of trees fall victim to ALB including, but not limited to, maple, horse chestnut, willow, elm, birch, sycamore, ash and poplars.
ALB infestations disrupt the tree’s ability to take in nutrients causing it to weaken, starve and die. Early detection is key because once ALB infects a tree, it may need to be removed. The beetle threatens our parks, forests and wildlife. It also impacts our economy by impacting maple syrup production, the hardwood timber industry, tree nurseries, recreation and firewood.
The early a detection, the earlier efforts can be made to contain and isolate an area in order to prevent further infestation. ALB has been successfully eradicated in parts of New York State including Staten Island, Manhattan and Islip.
If you see a beetle or suspect that tree damage is caused by ALB, please report it by contacting New York’s ALB Eradication Program by calling 1-866-265-0301, or by filling out the online form available at http://asianlonghornedbeetle.com/report-your-findings/. Also, take a digital picture of the beetle or tree damage, or capture and freeze the insect in a container, for identification.
ALB is 1 – 1.5″ long, has long antennae, banded in black and white and longer than the body. Their body is shiny black with distinctive white spots. They have 6 legs and may have a bluish tint to the feet.
Tree damage and other symptoms of infestation include dime-sized, perfectly round exit holes in the trunk or branches, sawdust-like materials (frass) on the ground around the tree or on the dead branches. You may also see sap seeping from wounds on the tree.