Aug 5, 2013

USDA Observes August As Tree Check Month

USDA Observes August As Tree Check Month And Asks The Public To Take 10 Minutes To Check Trees For Asian Longhorned Beetle

Washington: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) hasannounced that August is Tree Check Month and urges the public to check trees for signs of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).

“August is a time of peak emergence for the beetle and is most likely when members of the public will see an adult beetle infesting trees,” states Scott Pfister, Director for USDA APHIS' Pest Management Division. “We’re asking people to take 10 minutes and check your trees for the beetle and any signs of damage it causes.”

Checking trees on your property or in your neighborhood means looking at the host trees the beetle attacks for the beetle itself or signs of damage caused by it. The most concerning signs are dime-sized exit holes, roughly ¼ inch or larger, perfectly round, found on the trunk and branches. You can look for round or oval shallow scars in the bark where the females chew oviposition (egg-laying) sites, and also for frass (excrement), a sawdust-like material, on the ground at the base of the tree or at the crotches of branches. Dead branches or canopy dieback can indicate something is wrong. Finally, look for the beetle itself on the tree trunk, branches, on the ground, and on nearby surfaces. With these unique characteristics, the Asian longhorned beetle stands out from other insects:


• Body is 1 to 1 ½ inches in length
• Long antennae banded in black and white (longer than the insect's body)
• Shiny, jet black body with random white spots
• Six legs

The most important thing you can do to protect your trees is to check them regularly and encourage others to do so too. Early detection is crucial in the fight against this invasive pest. It can mean the difference between the six infested trees lost in Boston vs. over 30,000 trees lost in Worcester County, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, once ALB infests a tree, there is no cure for that tree, but there are things we can do to save the rest.

USDA works closely with federal partners, states, communities and the public to combat the pest in areas where infested trees have already been found. While eradication has been declared in Illinois (2008), New Jersey (2013) and Islip, New York (2011), the eradication efforts continue in Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York. We all still need to stay vigilant and inspect trees regularly for signs of infestation, especially since trees in all states are at risk.

Learn more about invasive Wood Boring Beetles:

Click to visit our Asian Longhorned Beetle species profile

Click for USDA Search for theAsian Longhorned Beetle poster

Click for USDA, US Forest Service, University of Vermont 68-page Asian Longhorned Beetle and its Host Trees publication

Click to visit our Emerald Ash Borer pages