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Ohio loses 35,000 trees to invasive beetle PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:12 PM

BY STEPHANIE GROVES

DHI MEDIA Staff Writer

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), together with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), recently announced its 2014 plans for the Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation in Bethel, Ohio. The infestation was first discovered in 2012 and currently, there are 61 square miles under regulation in Clermont County.

Affected trees in the county will continue to be removed throughout the year as the infestations are detected. To date, 10,741 infested trees and 24,104 high-risk host trees have been removed from the county’s regulated areas. Ohio State University Extension Educator Dr. Curtis Young said the Asian Longhorn beetle is a borer and is as even greater concern then the Emerald Ash Borer.

“It’s favorite host is the Maple tree and it is not particular about the species,” Young explained “It will attack any species including Sugar, Silver, Norway and Box Elder Maples.”

Young said the beetle has been in Ohio for several years and once it was discovered, federal- and state-level agencies began a program to contain and monitor the population.

According to the ODA, the beetle threatens the state’s multi-billion dollar nursery industry, Eastern and southern hardwood forest regions — where close to 300 to 400 million board feet are harvested each year — and an estimated 7 billion board feet of maple wood currently in Ohio. In addition, the invasive pest could adversely affect maple sugar processors.

Young said the Asian Longhorned beetle typically have a one year life cycle with the females emerging from trees and laying up to 70-80 eggs in her lifetime. The Emerald Ash Borer female can lay from 300-400 eggs in her lifetime.

“The larvae spend their lives in the heartwood (center) of a tree where they digest some components found inside the tree,” he explained. “It may take up to two years to complete the cycle.”

Scientific studies show that the larvae of Asian Longhorned beetle are not able to pupate until they attain a certain weight. The insect sometimes overwinter as pupae or larvae and in extreme weather conditions, may to take up to three years to have their cycle completed. During the overwintering period, they are motionless until the following summer when they resume their cycle.

“Since the beetle’s population growth is much slower, the pest can be corralled much easier,” Young explained.

The insect is not immune to insecticides, if directly exposed, and the window of opportunity is short after they emerge from trees. He said it’s difficult to get the insecticide inside the tree where the larvae live and the best way to eradicate them is to remove the infested trees.

Currently the beetle is being fought in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York — in Central Park — and other states are at risk. Eradication has been declared in Illinois, and areas of New Jersey and New York.

The Asian Longhorned beetle — sky beetle or starry sky — and can be traced back to Korea, China and Japan and was first discovered in the United States in 1996 in Brooklyn, N.Y. The insect made its way into the United States concealed in solid wood packing material used to transport goods from overseas.

“Based on the unique differences in genetics of the beetle found in Ohio verses the beetle found in New York, each have been found to have their own origins,” Young said.

According to the ODA, trees affected by the beetle include Ash, Birch, Buckeye, Elm, Golden Raintree, Hackberry, Horsechesnut, Katsura, Maple, Mimosa, Mountain Ash, London Plane Tree, Sycamore, Poplar and Willow.

Members of the public are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings.

Young said he is unaware of any other population of the beetle in Ohio and people should be conscious of potential sightings of the pest.

“The insect leaves large exit holes 3/8 inch in diameter in the trunk of the tree,” Young explained. “The beetle produces a lot of course, elongated sawdust typically seen in branch crotch angels.”

The beetle is of the Anoplophora genus which is divided into 36 species found all over Asia and are known to attack deciduous and coniferous trees.

The adult beetles have large bodies with a length ranging between one and one and one-half inches and the antennae can grow as long as 4 inches with black and white bands. Their bodies are black and shiny with white spots that can be counted up to 20 on each cover of the wing. Due to their huge bodies and weight, the beetles can only fly for a short distance. The length of the beetle is influenced by temperature conditions and the plant that hosts the larvae.

 

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