Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB)
In June 2011, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis, was discovered in Tate Township, Clermont County, and areas of East Fork State Park and Wildlife Area. After an examination carried out by multiple agencies, including the United State Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Ohio State University Extension (OSU), it was determined ALB was present within the area. This led to the governor of Ohio issuing an executive order on June 20, 2011, declaring the township under quarantine. USDA-APHIS also established a quarantine zone under a federal order on July 13, 2011, and marked Ohio as the fifth state in the country to detect an ALB infestation. Currently, the quarantine zone covers 49 square miles.
ODA and USDA-APHIS work in partnership to operate the Ohio ALB Cooperative Eradication Program. The program primarily conducts work within the quarantine area. This invasive beetle has no known natural predators and poses a great threat to Ohio's hardwood forests (more than $2.5 billion in standing maple timber) and the state's $5 billion nursery industry which employs nearly 240,000 people. Damage done to infested trees can lead to property damage and could include risks from falling debris.
With the help of local citizens reporting infestations and limiting firewood movement, ALB can be controlled in Ohio as seen in other states where infestations were found. In 2018, the ALB quarantine was removed from the Monroe and Stonelick/Batavia townships after finding no signs of the beetle after completing its final round of tree inspection surveys. In April 2022, a 7.5 square mile section around East Fork State Park and William H. Harsha Lake was also deregulated.
Eradication of the beetle from an area is possible as seen in the successful cases in Illinois, New Jersey, and parts of New York. In addition to Ohio, there are active infestations in Massachusetts and New York as well as a recently discovered area in South Carolina.
The first detection of ALB in the United States was in 1996 in Brooklyn, New York. It was determined that the beetle was brought to New York in untreated wooden shipping pallets. Many infestations were centralized to parks and street trees. As the infestation continued, satellite infestations were identified in Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and two separate areas on Long Island- Amityville and Islip creating five additional quarantines within the state. By 2019, all but one quarantine has been declared eradicated, therefore the Amityville quarantine is still ongoing at this time.
An infestation in Chicago, IL was detected 1998 in the neighborhoods of Ravenswood and Kilbourne Park. Summit Park and portions of DuPage County were later designated as satellite quarantines. In 2008, the beetle was eradicated from the city and satellite quarantines, with over 1,500 trees removed.
In 2002 the first infestation in Jersey City, New Jersey was reported. It is believed to have come in from a shipping yard in the New York quarantine. ALB was officially eradicated from the state in 2013.
Massachusetts became the fourth state to establish a quarantine in 2008 when damage was discovered in Worcester. The quarantine covers 110 square miles of forested area - the largest active ALB quarantine in the US. There was a satellite infestation found in Boston, in 2010, but it has since then been eradicated. The quarantine is still ongoing.
In 2020, the southern-most quarantine was established in Charleston County, South Carolina. Its eastern-most boundary is the Atlantic Ocean and a large portion of the 58 square mile quarantine is in swamp marshes.
Asian longhorned beetle has also infested Toronto, Canada, and 30 sites in Europe. According to Japanese records, the country may have been the first infestation of ALB worldwide. The first documentation, so far, of the beetle being found in Japanese forest is only from 1980, making it is difficult to determine how long the beetle has been established within the country.
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is a wood-boring beetle native to China and Korea. They are characterized by an extremely long antenna (up to twice their body length), a shiny black body with white spots, and blue feet. They are relatively large beetle with an adult body length of 1 to 1.5 inches. The ALB is commonly referred to as Starry Sky Beetles or the White-Spotted Longicorn.
Asian longhorned beetles are known to infest 12 genera of trees including those that contain maple, willow, elm, poplar,
birch, and buckeye trees. Adult females chew 60 to 90 egg-site depressions into the bark of a host tree and will lay one egg, half the size of a grain of rice, per site. Within a few weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae, which bore into and feed on the interior layers of the tree. After a few months, the larva will enter the pupal stage for 13 to 24 days and develop into an adult. Emerging adults will chew their way out of the tree; leaving a perfectly round exit hole approximately 3/8 inches in diameter. The exit tunnels will usually be a straight line from the pupal chamber to the exit hole. Emergence for adults typically occurs during late spring and summer months. Once they emerge, they feed on the leaves and bark of their host for 10 to 14 days before mating and laying eggs. The lifecycle of the ALB typically lasts a full year in Ohio’s climate.
The ALB can overwinter in all stages except for the adult beetle life stage. Adults feed, mate, and lay eggs throughout the summer and fall. They have been seen from April to December. Adult beetles can fly upwards of 400 yards or more in search of a host tree or a mate. However, they usually remain on the tree from which they emerged, resulting in repeated infestation by future generations.
The structural damage left by feeding ALB becomes evident three to four years after infestation. Tree death can occur in 10 to 15 years, depending on the tree’s overall health and site conditions. Infested trees do not recover nor do they regenerate from the damage left behind.
In order to restrict the movement of ALB by human means, regulatory restrictions are in effect for 49 square miles in Tate Township and East Fork State Park as well as in portions of East Fork Wildlife Area in Clermont County.
In accordance of the State of Ohio Asian Longhorned Beetle Quarantine: OAC 901:5-57, it is illegal to remove the following items from the quarantine area: Firewood, stumps, roots, branches, debris and other material living, dead, cut, or fallen from all hardwood species; and green lumber, nursery stock and logs of the following genera: Acer (maple), Aesculus (horse chestnut, buckeye), Albizia (mimosa), Betula (birch), Celtis (hackberry), Cercidiphyllum (katsura), Fraxinus (ash), Koelrueteria (golden rain tree), Platanus (sycamore), Populus (poplar), Salix (willow), Sorbus (mountain ash), and Ulmus (elm).
- Any other article, product, or means of conveyance not covered by the paragraph above, the director can determine it presents as a risk of spreading Asian longhorned beetle.
Other accordance that cover the quarantine regulations include ORC 927.69, and ORC 927.70.
If you perform work with regulated articles in the quarantined area, you must enter into a compliance agreement with the ALB eradication program to move items to approved sites for disposal. Before entering into an agreement, you need to attend free compliance training. To register for this training, please call 513-381-7180.
Removals & Treatment
When ALB-infested trees are identified, they are slated for removal by a USDA removal contractor. Only infested trees are required to be removed. High-risk host trees are only removed with the property owner’s approval. Removed trees are chipped to less than an (1) inch in any two dimensions. This ensures that any larvae within the wood are either chipped or are surrounded by so little wood material that they cannot complete their life cycle.
Chemical treatments with imidacloprid administered via trunk injection are sometimes used. These treatments are strictly preventative because they will not kill an adult beetle, pupa, or larva that has already infested a tree. Later larval stages occur within the interior heartwood of the tree where the insecticide does not pass through. Only recently hatched larva would be exposed to the chemicals. Currently, tree removal is the best option for eradicating active infestations. Within the two satellite quarantine zones of Monroe and Stonelick/Batavia townships, pesticide treatments were conducted in selected trees. After subsequent surveys in the areas of satellite quarantines, both areas were declared eradicated in 2018 after multiple surveys came back negative for signs of ALB.
Survey for signs of Asian longhorned beetle is primarily conducted from the ground. Teams of surveyors with binoculars walk through properties looking at host trees for evidence of infestation. Evidence can include adult beetles, egg sites, exit holes, and galleries (damage left by larva feeding on the interior of the tree). Any damage, new or old, is considered active infestation. In instances where ground surveyors cannot definitively call a spot ALB damage versus another native insect, squirrel chew, or wind damage, climbers are brought in to look at the tree. Certified climbers are better equipped to take a closer look at damage high in a tree. In cases where the tree cannot be safely climbed, spotting scopes or survey with a bucket truck will be used instead. For more information and maps of surveyed areas, please visit the USDA ALB Website.
Education & Outreach
Community cooperation and education benefit the eradication efforts and shorten the lifetime of the quarantine. As such, it is important to provide learning material and outreach within the quarantine zone and surrounding areas. Educating the public about the infestation and quarantine is an effective way to keep the community invested in the program and encourage them to report damage they might find.
The eradication program has a robust outreach program that provides talks and arranges events at schools, club meetings, conferences, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. If you are interested in learning more or collaborating with the Asian Longhorned Beetle Cooperative Eradication Program, or if you need any outreach materials including maps, ID cards, factsheets, wood samples, etc., please call 513-381-7180.
USDA APHIS offers information materials to help raise awareness about the ALB. Publications can be requested online through the Publications Ordering System.
If you think you've seen the beetle or signs of infestation, please contact the Ohio ALB eradication program office at 513-381-7180 or ALB@agri.ohio.gov.
If possible, capture the insect, place it in a jar, and freeze it for identification. If you have a digital camera, take pictures of the insect and the damage to your trees.
For more information consider the following references:
- USDA APHIS | Asian Longhorned Beetle - New York
- USDA APHIS | Tree Surveys Are Underway In SC To Detect ALB
- Asian Longhorned Beetle | Clemson University
- Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) - NYS Dept. Of Environmental Conservation
- Asian Longhorned Beetle In Massachusetts
- IPM Asian Longhorned Beetle
- Asian Longhorned Beetle Alert: NYC Parks
- NJ Asian Longhorned Beetle Page
- NJ Dept. Of Environmental Protection