We are facing one of New Jersey's (and the US's) biggest threats. It was reported in the Star-Ledger on Jan. 22 that dozens of trees in Jersey City were being cut down. These would be the first of 500 to be destroyed. These mostly maple with some ash and elms were planted about 20 years ago and were just really taking off. The reason- the Asian Long-Horned Beetle’s first appearance in New Jersey. These trees have to be destroyed now to stop the spread of the beetle. 48% of New Jersey’s shade trees are maples, which is the beetle’s favorite food source. This insect has already been found in New York and Chicago.
The Asian Long-Horned Beetle is a native of China and first seen in the U.S. in 1996. It was found in trees in Brooklyn first. It is thought to have made its way to the United States in the wood of Chinese shipping crates. Up until now, the beetles spread was thought to have been contained. The beetles in Jersey City have DNA that matches the beetles in New York. They are thought to have spread from that population either on a car or through the air vents of the Holland Tunnel, which is very close to the infestation in Jersey City.
The trees can only be destroyed if the beetle larva is found in them. The beetle cannot be fought with pesticide spraying, like the Gypsy Moth and other pests. The adult beetle lays eggs in the fall, which hatch into larva. These larva dig into the tree, chewing long tunnels and eventually exit as adults, leaving 1/4" holes. These may re-infest the same tree or move on to other trees. The only thing that can be done is to destroy the tree while the larva is still in the tree and before it has gone into the adult beetle stage.
With no natural predators, this insect is a severe threat to North American forests, possibly changing the make-up of the forest ecosystem and endangering the lumber industry. It could also pose a threat to wetland ecosystems, as it is also fond of trees, like willows.Right now all we can do is quarantine areas where the beetle has been found. Trees, limbs, firewood, logs should be destroyed in these areas, in case they have been infected with the larva. Planting trees that the beetle does not invade will also help.. Most important, be aware and be on the look-out for the beetle. There are pictures of the beetle and its damage on the page. It is unique looking- 1 1/2" long with black and white markings, long legs. The antenna are long, with black and white bands. The adult can fly up to 750 feet. If you see anything that looks even close to it, please catch it and call your local County Ag. Agent or USDA office (see the number below). Timing is critical with this pest. We need to get it as soon as it is seen. It is not going to go away on its own.
The pictures on this page were taken by Robert A. Haack, USDA Forest Service, and found on the IPM images page.
For more information on the Asian Long-horn Beetle, please visit the following site: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/alb/alb.html
Identifying the Asian Longhorned Beetle
Be on the alert for this significant pest of trees.
Look for trees damaged by Asian long-horned beetles. Characteristic damage includes entry and exit wounds, sometimes with sap flowing out of the trunks and branches, and sawdust piled up at the bases of trees. For positive identification of insect specimens or damage, please contact your local USDA-APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine office or the State Plant Health Director for your State.
If additional information is required, call (301) 734-5255.