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Asian Longhorn Beetle

Asian longhorn beetle


The Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis )is classified as a pest in the United States and their homeland of China. The beetles have the potential to destroy millions of hardwood trees, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Longhorn beetles live for one year. They are 11.5 in (2.53.8 cm) long, and their backs are black with white spots. The beetles' long antennae are black and white and extend up to 1 in (2.5 cm) beyond the length of their bodies.

Female beetles chew into tree bark and lay from 35 to 90 eggs. After hatching, larvae tunnel into the tree, staying close to the sapwood, and eat tree tissue throughout the fall and winter. After pupating, adults beetles leave the tree through drill-like holes. Beetles feed on tree leaves and young bark for two to three days and then mate. The cycle of infestation continues as more females lay eggs.

Beetle activity can kill trees such as maples, birch, horse chestnut, poplar, willow, elm, ash, and black locust. According to the USDA, beetles came to the United States in wooden packaging material and pallets from China. The first beetles were discovered in 1996 in Brooklyn, New York. Other infestations were found in other areas of the state. In 1998, infestations were discovered in Chicago.

Due to efforts that included quarantines and eradication, infestations have been confined to New York and Chicago. The spread of these pests is always a concern and certain steps are being taken to prevent this, such as the dunnage being heat-treated before leaving China, developing an effective pheromone, biological control agents, and cutting down and burning infected trees. The felled trees are then replaced with ones that are not known to host the beetle. In 1999, 5.5 million dollars was allotted to help finance the detection of infested trees.

[Liz Swain ]

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