Asian Longhorned Beetle

In August of 2012, Joe Russell, TJ Nagel and José Fernández made a trip down to Cincinnati to hear Joe Boggs,  entomologist and OSU Extension Educator in the Cincinnati area, give a talk on Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).  Following are some quick facts from lecture notes and from presented as FAQs:

Q: Where does ALB come from, and is it in Ohio?
A: ALB is native to eastern Asia, specifically to China and the Koreas.  Interestingly, it was introduced to Japan, but was successfully eradicated. ALB was first reported in Ohio on June 17th, 2011 in southwestern Ohio, Clermont County.  Based on DNA testing, this infestation came from Asia, and is unrelated to other infestations in the United States.  We do not know how it came to Ohio.

Q: How long has ALB been in North America?
A: ALB has been in North America since 1996, where it was discovered in Brooklyn, NY.

Q: What areas are quarantined in Ohio, and what does this mean?
A: Regulated materials, including firewood, stumps, roots, branches, debris and other material –living, dead, cut, or fallen- from all hardwood species, nursery stock and logs of ALB host trees cannot be moved out of a regulated (quarantined) area.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has established three regulated areas within Clermont County and will continue to update the status of these areas as needed. 

Q: What trees are at risk?
A: Very good hosts, in order of pest favor, are all maples, horse chestnut, elm, and willow.  However, the beetle will attack 13 different genera of trees, including all species within the genera.  Some other common trees that are vulnerable are birch, sycamore, poplar, mimosa, and hackberry.

Q: General eradication (at the forest level) of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was a goal that proved to be expensive and sometimes unachievable.  How can we say ALB can be contained and eradicated?
A: EAB and ALB are very different beetles, both in their rate of reproduction, ability or desire to spread and feeding habits, among other things.  To be considered eradicated, no beetles can be found within a period of three years in a zone that was previously infested.  This requirement has been met in Chicago, IL, Hudson County, NJ, and Islip, NY.  Currently, there are other locations in NY and NJ that are undergoing eradication, as well as Massachusetts and Ohio. As for EAB, eradication on a large scale is not practical, but there are several proven methods that arborists use to successfully protect individual Ash trees from infestation, even where pest pressure is very high.

Q: What does the beetle look like?  What do I do if I think I found one?
A: I found the Chinese name for ALB to be a good way to remember how it looks.  In China, ALB is called “Starry Night Beetle”, because it is black with irregular white spots on its back.  It has very long, black and white banded antennae, and is a large beetle, measuring 1 to 1 ½ inches long.  Another way to spot the beetle is by their activity.  Look for perfectly round, nearly dime-sized exit holes in trees, with noticeable amounts of sawdust (frass) built up on the limbs or on the ground.  Limbs weakened by the large exit holes can break readily in a windstorm as well.

If you spot one, call Russell Tree Experts for one of our arborists to come out and make an inspection, or go to for more information.

Q: Can ALB be controlled without destroying the tree?A: Due to lack of space, I cannot go into details here.  It may be controlled, but there is difficulty due to the different feeding habits in each developmental stage.  Currently, a tree found with ALB will be cut down and destroyed.  The beetle is considered to be one of the most destructive and costly invasive species ever to enter the United States.

Forest Service Report to congress:

APHIS Fact Sheet: