In 1996, Asian longhorned beetles (ALB, Anoplophora glabripennis) were discovered on some hardwood trees in Brooklyn, New York. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture declared an emergency in order to combat the pests. The beetles are believed to have come into the U.S. in wood pallets and packing material with shipments from Asia.
Any invasive and destructive insect presents a problem. But the problem with these beetles is greater because they attack a wide range of tree species including Norway maple, silver, red and sugar maple, box elder, buckeye, horsechestnut, London plane, birch, elm and willow. The economic impact could be enormous.
In 2002, another devastating beetle was identified in Michigan and neighboring Ontario, Canada. Emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) turned out to be the culprit behind the loss of ash trees in the state. Another non-native pest, it is distributed with the helping hand of humans when infested wood (firewood, for example) is moved from place to place. Emerald ash borer has now spread to at least 14 states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The war on the Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer is essentially a seek-and-destroy mission, and the USDA is soliciting the help of citizens such as you. By learning the tell-tale signs of beetle damage, you can become a Beetle Detective and be on the lookout for these pests. The USDA wants to know not only if the beetles are present, but if they are not. By periodically reporting your findings, you aid in the effort to control or eradicate them. Learn more about becoming a Beetle Detective.
Return to goGardenNow.com.