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Checking Ohio's Trees for Asian Longhorned Beetle is Essential: Checks Help Lift Firewood Restrictions at State Park Campground

Checking Ohio's Trees for Asian Longhorned Beetle is Essential: Checks Help Lift Firewood Restrictions at State Park Campground

Checking state trees for the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is helping to lift quarantine restrictions in the campground area in East Fork State Park and is a necessary step in the overall ALB eradication process. The ALB quarantine is expected to be lifted soon in the park’s campground and beyond, ending restrictions, such as moving firewood out of the campground. This milestone highlights the importance of checking trees and being on the lookout for the insect.

ODA and USDA held a joint press conference on Tuesday, August 3 at East Fork State Park Campground to announce the milestone and show where and how to check for signs of an ALB infestation in your trees.

ODA and USDA are asking for your help to look for signs of the pest, which is why August is being declared "Tree Check Month" nationwide. The Asian longhorned beetle can cause serious damage to Ohio’s trees.  ALB adults emerge from the trees throughout the summer, with the chances of seeing adult beetles peaking in August. Checking trees for the beetle and damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help the efforts to eliminate this invasive beetle from the United States.

Until the quarantine is lifted, it is currently illegal to remove the following items from the quarantined area: firewood, stumps, roots, branches, debris and other material living, dead, cut or fallen from hardwood species; green lumber, nursery stock and logs of the following trees: maple, horse chestnut, buckeye, mimosa, birch, hackberry, katsura, ash, golden rain tree, sycamore, poplar, willow, mountain ash and elm. This is to prevent the ALB from spreading to other parts of the state.

ALB was first discovered in Tate Township, Clermont County in June 2011. Since then, over 112,000 trees have been removed to stop the spread of this pest in Ohio.

ALB is an invasive wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in Ohio, such as maples, elms, birches, willows and Ohio's official state tree, the buckeye. The beetle creates tunnels as it feeds then chews its way out as an adult in the warmer months, typically around August. Infested trees do not recover, eventually die, and can become safety hazards since their weakened branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms.

The beetle has bright and distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

  • Black and white antennae that are longer than the beetle's body.
  • A shiny black body with white spots that is about 1" to 1 ½" long.
  • Six legs and feet that can appear bluish in color.

Signs that a tree might be infested include round exit holes in tree trunks and branches, about the size of a dime or smaller and shallow oval or round scars in the bark where the adult beetle chewed an egg site. There may also be sawdust-like material, called frass, on the branches or ground around the tree and dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

This invasive beetle 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.

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 email ALB@agri.ohio.gov. If possible, capture the insect, place it in a jar and freeze it for identification. If you have a camera, take photos of the insect and the damage to your trees.

Read more about the Asian longhorned beetle here.