Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Confirmed in South Carolina

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Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) (Anoplophora glabripennis) is potentially the most devastating non-native pest to have ever arrived in North America.  The beetle kills trees belonging to 12 genera in 9 plant families.  Maples are the most preferred host.  Aside from the economic impact of losing one of the most common trees used in U.S. landscapes, the environmental ripple effect of losing native maples across many forest ecosystems also means the potential loss of other plant species as well as animal species that are dependent upon those ecosystems.

 

ALB

 

Clemson University's Department of Plant Industry (DPI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that ALB has been confirmed in South Carolina.  This the latest ALB infestation to be found in North America and emphasizes the need to remain vigilant for this non-native tree killer.

 

ALB

 

According to the DPI and USDA APHIS, a homeowner in Hollywood (Charleston County, SC) found a dead beetle on their property and reported it to the DPI on May 29, 2020.  The initial identification was made by Clemson's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.  APHIS's National Identification Services confirmed the ID on June 4.

 

A preliminary survey of the property and surrounding area was conducted by DPI and APHIS inspectors on June 11.  It revealed that one tree on the property is infested as well as a second tree on an adjacent property.  More surveys are now underway to further determine the extent of the infestation.

 

ALB has previously been found in North America in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada.  The infestations in Illinois, New Jersey, and the New York City Burroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island have been eradicated.  The infestation in Toronto, Ontario, was declared eradicated but the beetle was later found in nearby Mississauga.  Eradication efforts continue in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Ontario.

 

The dedicated professionals with the ALB Cooperative Eradication Program in Ohio which includes the USDA APHIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) have also scored their own victories.  ALB was first detected in Ohio near Bethel in Tate Township, Clermont County, in June 2011.  "Satellite" infestations were found in Monroe Township in September and in Stone Lick Township in 2012; both were declared eradicated in 2018.

 

 

Be Alert to ALB

Successful eradication of ALB is essential to avoiding a catastrophic loss of trees as well as habitat on a scale never before seen in the U.S.  Early detection is critical to the successful eradication of ALB both in terms of time and money.  Never believe ALB is "somewhere else."  ALB can pop-up anywhere, even in our own backyard.

 

What to Look for with ALB:

 

1. Host: Focus on Maples.  ALB will attack trees belonging to 12 genera; however, maples (Acer spp.) are by far the most preferred host.

 

ALB

 

 

2. Branch Breakage.  ALB larvae tunnel through and feed on the wood (xylem) of trees.  This weakens branches causing them to break.  Unusually heavy branch breakage on living maple trees should be investigated!

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

 

3. Holes:  The "Pencil Test."  The big beetles typically emerge from deep inside the wood of a tree (xylem), so the round adult emergence holes extend deep into the tree.  Inserting a #2 pencil into the holes will reveal the depth of the emergence holes.  However, trees may eventually close the exit holes with woundwood.

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

 

4. Pits in the Bark.  ALB females chew a concave pit through the bark to the xylem where they lay a single egg.  The "oviposition pits" may weep sap during the season.  However, trees usually close the pits relatively quickly, so you may only see rounded wounds.

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

ALB

 

 

5. Woodpecker Damage.  ALB larvae live deep inside the xylem.  Woodpeckers excavate deep holes in search of these large tasty meat morsels.

 

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6. Frass:  Small Wood Shavings.  ALB produces small wood shavings as they emerge from trees or as the females chew oviposition pits.

 

ALB

 

 

7. Bark Cracking.  Larval feeding damage may stimulate trees to produce callous tissue then woundwood beneath the bark.  The expanding woundwood lifts the overlaying bark producing cracks and fissures.

 

ALB

 

 

8. Big Beetles.  ALB is a very large beetle and the adults are emerging in Ohio.  The South Carolina infestation was discovered by an alert homeowner who found a dead ALB reported their find to the proper authorities.  The Massachusetts infestation was also discovered because an observant homeowner found and reported big beetles in their backyard.

 

ALB

 

 

 

If you find any of these ALB indicators, report it.  Give the ALB professionals a chance to investigate.  In fact, if you find ANY suspicious signs or symptoms, report it!    There is no harm if it turns out not to be ALB; there is great harm if it is ALB and it's not reported.

 

You can report by phone by calling 1-866-702-9938, or 513-381-7180.  You can also report online by clicking the hotlink below:

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/asian-longhorned-beetle/report-it