Keep your eyes open for this invasive beetle that can damage trees

Asian longhorned beetle in pool
Asian longhorned beetle. Photo courtesy Jessica Cancelliere of NYSDEC Forest Health Program

This is the time of year when Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults and are most active outside of their host tree. If they have invaded Western New York, this is the time when you would see them.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wants people to report any sightings of these beetles before they can cause serious damage to our forests and street trees.

If you have a pool

If you have a pool, you can participate in the annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey.

Check your pool filter for any insects that resemble ALB. If you find one that might be an ALB, e-mail photos to foresthealth@dec.ny.gov or mail the insect to the Division of Lands and Forests’ Forest Health Diagnostic Lab for identification, Attn: Jessica Cancelliere, 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054.

Recognizing Asian longhorned beetle

Even if you don’t have a pool, you can help. Anyone can learn how to recognize the ALB, as well as the signs it leaves behind:

  • ALB are about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and have long black and white antennae.
  • These pests 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.

See photos and how to report the ALB here.

Background on ALB

The ALB has been found in the New York City area. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has worked diligently to manage the ALB infestations and has succeeded in eradicating it from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip and Eastern Queens.

The ALB is a wood boring beetle native to Asia that was accidentally introduced to the United States through wood packing materials. These pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches and willows, among others, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country.

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