Asian Longhorned Beetle threatens U.S. hardwood trees

Hot Springs, Va. –

The Asian Longhorned Beetle threatens hardwood trees in North America. This is District Ranger Patrick Sheridan from the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle, known as the starry sky or sky beetle, is native to eastern China, Japan, and Korea. This species has now been accidentally introduced into the United States, where it was first discovered in 1996. This beetle is believed to have been spread from Asia in solid wood packing material. The Asian Longhorned Beetle is a non-native invasive specie, threatening a wide variety of hardwood trees in North America. Adults are large, three quarters to an inch and a half long, with very long black, white banded antennae. The body is glossy black with irregular white spots.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle is extremely destructive. The damage is caused by the beetle larvae, which burrow deep into a tree to feed on its food and water conducting vessels. Continued feeding causes the structural defects and eventually kills the life sustaining cambial layer by girdling. Mature beetles then burrow out of the tree leaving holes the diameter of a ball point pen. Heavy Asian Longhorned Beetle infestations can kill otherwise healthy adult trees.

United States Department of Agriculture research indicates that this beetle can survive and reproduce in most sections of the country. Also of great concern is the large number of trees that the Asian Longhorned Beetle can affect. Where Emerald Ash Borer affects mostly ash trees, and Gypsy Moth affect mostly oaks, the Asian Longhorned Beetle will attack a large number of species to include maples, box elders, sycamores, horse chestnuts, buckeyes, elms, birches, and willows.

The beetle has been detected in five New England states and is spreading steadily. The Asian Longhorned Beetle is now one of the most destructive non-native insects in the United States, causing an estimated $3.5 billion in annual damages.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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