Tree check: Asian longhorn beetles are coming

Asian longhorn beetle (Purdue University image)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) – August is designated as Tree Check Month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because now is when Asian long-horned beetles are beginning to emerge.

This pest poses a serious threat to shade trees, and a Purdue entomologist is urging people to check their trees.

The beetle has been found in Chicago and Ohio, but not in Indiana – yet.

“If you see an Asian long-horned beetle, you should report it,” said Cliff Sadof, a Purdue professor of entomology. “Early reports by private citizens have been critical to eradication efforts in Chicago, Ohio, New York and New Jersey.”

To spot a beetle, look for these characteristics:

  • Body is about 1 inch to 1 inch and a half in length.
  • Antennae, longer than the insect’s body, is banded in black and white.
  • Shiny jet black body that features random white spots.
  • Six legs, in some cases with bluish-colored feet.

Signs of an infestation start to show about three to four years after the tree is infested:

  • Dime-sized or smaller round exit holes in the tree trunk or branches.
  • Shallow oval or round scars in the bark, where the adult beetle has chewed an egg site.
  • Sawdust-like materials, called frass, on the ground around the tree or on the branches.
  • Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

Asian long-horned beetles also commonly fall into swimming pools. Sadof suggests residents check their water skimmers for the beetle, too.

Maples are the most commonly infested trees in North America. Infested trees do not recover and must be removed.

If you see one, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC.

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