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August is Tree Check Month: Public's Help Needed to Find the Asian Longhorned Beetle

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) is reminding citizens that August is Tree Check Month.
This is the best time of year to check your trees for signs of the Asian
longhorned beetle (ALB) – a destructive invasive pest that kills trees.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180801005939/en/

An Asian longhorned beetle and its round exit hole. (Photo credit: USDA)

An Asian longhorned beetle and its round exit hole. (Photo credit: USDA)

"Asian longhorned beetle infested trees are safety hazards," said Josie
Ryan, APHIS' National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication
Program. "You don't want them on your property, because they can drop
branches and tree tops, and storm damage becomes much worse. So to make
sure your trees are healthy, now is the time to go outside and look at
them for signs of the beetle."

The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of
acres of America's hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash
and poplar trees. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure to save
infested trees. Infested trees need to be removed to keep the beetle
from spreading to nearby trees, as well as to protect homes and other
personal property, since infested trees will eventually die.

"Infested trees do not recover, nor do they regenerate," added Ryan.
"Foresters have observed ALB-related tree deaths in New York, Illinois,
New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio. It's possible to find and eradicate
this destructive pest, as we have done in Illinois and New Jersey, but
we need the public's help."

The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an
infestation, so early detection and reporting are critical to containing
it. People in areas quarantined for ALB can also help by not moving
firewood, which can transport the beetle to new areas.

The beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

  • Long antennae with black and white bands, longer than the insect's
    body.
  • A shiny, jet-black body, about 1" to 1 ½" long, with white spots.
  • Six legs with possible bluish-colored legs and feet.

Signs of infestation include:

  • Round exit holes, about the size of a dime or smaller, in tree trunks
    and branches.
  • Shallow oval or round scars in the bark, where the adult beetle has
    chewed an egg site.
  • Sawdust-like material, called frass, on the ground around the tree or
    in the branches.
  • Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

After seeing signs of the beetle:

  • Make note of what was found and where. Take a photo, if possible.
  • Try to capture the insect by placing it in a container and freezing
    it. Doing so will preserve it for easier identification.
  • Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form
    at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

The ALB was first detected in the United States in Brooklyn, New York,
in 1996. It is believed to have come from wooden-packing material used
in cargo shipments from China. Since then, it has led to the loss of
more than 160,000 trees.

For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle, ways to keep it
from spreading and eradication program activities, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.
For local inquiries or to speak to your State Plant Health Director,
call 1-866-702-9938.

More About ALB Eradication Efforts

The ALB Eradication Program began in 1996 as a cooperative effort
between Federal and State agencies. Together, these partnering agencies
establish quarantines to restrict the movement of regulated commerce
materials, inspect trees from the ground and air, remove infested and
high-risk trees within a quarantine area, and conduct research to
improve eradication methods. To date, APHIS and its partners have
successfully eliminated the beetle in Illinois, New Jersey, portions of
New York (Manhattan, Staten Island and Islip) and Ohio (Stonelick and
Batavia Townships), and in Boston, Massachusetts. Current infestations
are being fought in New York (Kings, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk
Counties), Ohio (Clermont County) and Massachusetts (Worcester County).

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