Asian Longhorned Beetle
The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis or ALB) is a large distinctive-looking insect growing to 1.5” long. The body is shiny jet black with irregular white spots. Antennae are typically longer (up to 2 ½ times longer) than the body and banded black and white. It has six legs sometimes with bright blue on the legs and feet.
Larvae are large, light cream-colored and do not have legs or a distinct head. Larvae live entirely within the wood of trees and are the most damaging stage of the beetle.
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is a destructive wood-boring pest of maple and other hardwood species. ALB larvae tunnel deep into the wood of host trees to feed; disrupting water and nutrient transport and compromising the structural integrity of the tree. Trees weaken and die with repeated attacks. ALB hitchhiked to the US from Asia in wood packing material cut from infested wood. It was first detected in 1996 on several trees in Brooklyn, NY. Concern that losses could exceed those caused by Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight and gypsy moth combined prompted an emergency order to mobilize regulatory and control actions at the federal level. The only effective means to eliminate ALB is to remove and destroy infested trees. Early detection and rapid response can protect our forests and urban landscapes but we need your help!
The Asian longhorned beetle first came to the US within wood packing material. Now that it is present in select parts of the country, it can move about on its own and unknowingly by people. This photo shows shipping containers waiting to be inspected at port for possible infestation of ALB and other invasive pests and pathogens. ALB can fly distances greater than a mile to find new host trees but because ALB larvae live deep inside trees most of the year, they can easily and unknowingly be transported to new areas in firewood, live trees or fallen timber. The Asian longhorned beetle is just one of many significant “pests” that can spread to new areas by people. Unwanted pests and plant diseases can move into new areas unknowingly on firewood or live plant material. One way to help limit human assisted spread of these plant pests and pathogens is by burning firewood where you cut it. Learn more about human assisted spread of plant pests and pathogens at http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/
ALB has an impressive host list making it extremely dangerous. Preferred hosts include maples (Acer spp.) like red maple, sugar maple, silver maple and Norway maple; horsechestnut (Aesculus spp.); willows (Salix spp.); American elm (Ulmus americana); birch (Betula spp.); sycamore (Platanus spp.) and other hardwood species. A complete list of host trees in the US has not been determined. ALB only attacks hardwoods, so conifers such as pines, spruces, firs and hemlocks are safe from this insect.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Dead or fallen branches
- Dime-sized, 3/8 inch or greater, perfectly round exit holes
- Egg laying sites in the bark
- Sawdust-like excrement (frass) in branch crotches or at the base of trees
Think you've spotted this pest?
If you think you've found this pest in your landscape contact your local extension office to see about sending in a sample.
Find your local extension office here.