Watch for Asian longhorned beetle in your pool, look for damage to trees in August

Asian Longhorned Beetle
Asian longhorned beetle. Photo courtesy Jessica Cancelliere of NYSDEC Forest Health Program

Check your pool filter during August for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive beetle that could cause serious damage to New York State’s street trees and forests. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding its annual Swimming Pool Survey.

People without pools can help by learning how to recognize the beetle, as well as the signs it leaves behind. See more below.

The DEC and partners will also be hanging tags on host trees to encourage people to learn more about ALB and to demonstrate the potential impacts in neighborhoods and parks.

The majority of invasive forest pest infestations are found and reported by members of the public, making citizen science a vital component for protecting urban and rural forests, according to the DEC.

August is National Tree Check Month, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) encourages the public to look for evidence of ALB attack on trees in their area.

The timing is important because ALB do not emerge from infested trees until the end of July and are most active in late summer.

DEC is asking people with swimming pools to periodically check their pool filters for insects that resemble ALB. Either email photos to the Forest Health Program at foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mail insects for identification to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab Attn: Jessica Cancelliere, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054.

How to identify ALB:

  • ALB are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots and have long, black-and-white antennae.
  • They leave perfectly round exit holes, about the size of a dime, in branches and tree trunks.
  • Sawdust-like material called frass will collect on branches and around the base of the tree.
  • ALB attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches and willows, among others.

See more on the DEC’s ALB page.

The pests have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees in New York City and Long Island, as well as across the country in New Jersey; Chicago; Worcester, Massachusetts, and Clermont, Ohio. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with APHIS, has worked to manage the ALB infestations in New York State and succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip and Eastern Queens.

ALB is a wood-boring beetle native to Asia accidentally introduced to the United States through wood packing materials.

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