The Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive insect that is native to China and Korea. It lives in hardwood trees and often kills the trees it targets, so federal and local governments in the U.S. have been monitoring the species and using eradication efforts in effect to stop its spread. It hasn't reached the Crandall Park area yet, but it has been found in other parts of North America, and it poses a serious threat to local trees such as maples.
The Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive insect species in the U.S. that kills the trees it lives in. Originally from China and the Korean Peninsula, the beetle made its way to the U.S. in wooden shipping material. It targets a variety of hardwood trees that are common in the northeastern United States. Among the beetle's host trees are birches and maples, a few varieties of which are found in Crandall Park. The Asian longhorned beetle has not been found in Crandall Park yet, but it has been found in parts of Massachusetts, southern New York State, Illinois, and Ontario.
Asian longhorned beetles cause severe harm to the trees they target because they tunnel through and feed on tree tissue. Adult Asian longhorned beetles lay their eggs in tree bark. The larvae then tunnel into the tree. Most of their lives are spent as larvae, eating tree tissue. Once the beetles have developed from larvae to pupae to adults, they tunnel their way out of the tree.
Considering the potential impacts of a major outbreat, managing Asian longhorned beetle outbreaks is an important endeavor. A large outbreak in New York, for example, could kill off a significant number of maple trees, which would hurt the maple sugar industry and this area of the country's beautiful fall foliage. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has banned moving firewood and other wood products from areas with Asian longhorned beetle infestations. There are also international regulations in place to stop transport of infested materials. In a paper summarizing management of Asian longhorned beetle, a group of researchers led by Jiafu Hu report that countries at risk of infestations undertake comprehensive tree surveys in areas with potential host trees, and if infested trees are found, they are chopped down and chipped or burned. In the U.S., all possible host trees within 800 meters of the infested tree are checked for the beetles. In the surrounding area, soil or potential host trees are often injected with insecticides as a preventative measure.
Researchers are working to find other effective ways to control Asian longhorned beetle populations. Some species of fungi have been shown to harm the beetles, and may be used to manage infestations. For example, a study led by Thomas Dubois showed that some species of fungi in the genus Beauveria can decrease the lifespan and reproduction of the Asian longhorned beetle.
Asian longhorned beetle adults are black with white spots on their backs, and they are typically ¾ to 1 ¼ inches long. Their antennae are longer than their bodies and are also spotted. Larvae and pupae live entirely within trees, so an important part of identifying an infestation is looking for signs in host trees. The holes that adults make as they exit trees are usually ¼ to ½ of an inch wide. If you find a hole in a tree’s bark and think it might be caused by the Asian Longhorned Beetle, use the “pencil test” (place a pencil into the hole, and if it doesn't fall out, there's a good chance that the hole was made by a beetle).
How You Can Help
If you find evidence of the Asian longhorned beetle at Crandall Park or elsewhere in New York State, call the New York Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Health office at 1-866-640-0652.
For more information on identifying the Asian Longhorned Beetle, go to: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/palerts/alb/alb_pa.pdf
Arizona State University School of Life Sciences. (2016). Ask a biologist: How do beetles reproduce? Retrieved from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/life-cycle
Dubois, T., Hajek, A.E., Jiafu, H., and Li, Z. (2004). Evaluating the efficiency of entomopathogenic fungi against the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), by using cages in the field. Environmental Entomology 33(1): 62-74. doi: 10.1603/0046-225X-33.1.62
Hu, J., Angeli, S., Schuetz, S., Luo, Y., and Hajek, A.E. (2009). Ecology and management of exotic and endemic Asian longhorned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 11: 359-375. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-9563.2009.00443.x
Perry, K.I., Boggs, J., and Herms, D.A. (2016). Asian Longhorned Beetle. Retrieved from http://www.clermontswcd.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2016/08/albfactsheet.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (2016). Asian Longhorned Beetle- About. Retrieved from https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/asian-longhorned-beetle/About-ALB
United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). Pest Alert: Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis): A New Introduction. Retrieved from https://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/palerts/alb/alb_pa.pdf
Asian longhorned beetles: "Two Asian longhorned beetle adults on a maple tree" by U.S. Department of Agriculture is licensed under CC BY 2.0