Invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle Found in Ohio - Forestry officials urge Kentucky residents to be on the lookout
FRANKFORT, KY (June 28, 2011) – A new and potentially serious threat to some of North America’s most beautiful trees was recently detected in the southwestern town of Bethel, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Campbell County, Kentucky. The invasive insect known as the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is among a growing number of exotic, invasive pests to threaten the nation’s forests. The beetle can significantly damage both rural and urban forests, but so far, has had the greatest impact in urban areas.
“The detection of Asian Longhorned Beetle in southern Ohio is too close for comfort, and we need Kentuckians to be on the lookout for this devastating pest and call us if they find it,” said state forester Leah MacSwords, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “Quarantines around infested areas will be the most effective means of controlling this insect. As with other invasive insects, the public’s cooperation by not moving firewood and reporting suspected infestations to forestry officials is the first line of defense,” MacSwords added.
ALB infestations were first discovered in the United States in 1996. The beetle is believed to have arrived in North America in wooden packing material used in cargo shipments from China. Efforts to control the beetle have taken place in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. In all instances where ALB has been found, authorities have reacted quickly to stop the infestation from spreading.
Public awareness is the key to preventing the spread of this insect since there are currently no practical methods for controlling or eradicating ALB. Despite on-going research to evaluate the effectiveness of different insecticides, the only way currently known to control the insect is to destroy the infested trees and to regulate the transportation of any firewood, lumber or any infested “host” tree or live beetles from quarantined areas to outside zones.
Trees attacked by ALB are predominantly maples, but infestations have also been discovered in horse chestnuts, poplars, willows, elms, mulberries, black locusts and birch, many of which are popular trees to plant in urban areas.
ALB kills trees while in the larvae stage by tunneling into large branches and the trunk. Infestations can be identified by the perfectly round, dime-sized exit holes along the trunk, sometimes with sap flowing out and sawdust piled up at the base of the tree. Adult beetles emerge in July and August and can be seen in the summer to mid-fall. Adults are easily identified by their large, shiny black body with distinctive white spots. They are also relatively big for an insect measuring 1 – to 1 ½ inches long and their white-banded antennae span the length of their body.
Citizens are encouraged to help report any signs of infestation by contacting the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496. For more information, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov and http://www.beetlebusters.info/.