The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a wood-boring beetle native to China. It’s believed that it made its way to the New York area in 1996. These tree borers pose a serious threat to some of North America’s most beautiful and popular tree species, including:
In summer, the Asian longhorned beetle lays its eggs in the bark of the tree. Adults range in size from ¾” to 1 ½ ” in length and are black and shiny with irregular white spots. They have black and white striped antennae that are 1 to 2 times the body length.
The Asian longhorned beetle is harmless to humans and pets, but poses a serious threat to its host trees. Asian longhorned beetle infestations in New York, New Jersey and Illinois have resulted in the loss of more than 30,000 trees.
The female Asian longhorned beetle damages its host tree by chewing oval grooves in the bark to deposit its eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae further damage the tree by feeding on the sapwood beneath the bark layer. This creates hollowed out galleries, and since the insects are feeding on the vascular tissues of the tree, the tree cannot properly transport nutrients and water. The adult beetle also harms trees when it bores out of the wood by creating exit holes of ⅜” or larger in diameter.
Once a tree has an Asian longhorned beetle infestation, it will generally die within 1-2 years.
Unfortunately, today the only known way to combat these highly destructive beasts is to destroy the infested trees. If you suspect the presence of Asian longhorned beetles, contact your local forestry officials immediately so that they can take the necessary steps to contain the outbreak.