MA Residents Asked to Watch for Asian Longhorned Beetles

The U.S Department of Agriculture is advising Massachusetts residents to keep an eye out for Asian Longhorned Beetles, an invasive species whose emergence peaks in August.

The beetle was first spotted in the United States in 1996. Rhonda Santos is a spokesperson for the USDA. She says the Asian Longhorned Beetle destroys trees by laying its eggs beneath a tree’s bark. 

“And after about two weeks, that egg hatches and turns into a larva, and that larva tunnels and feeds into the heartwood of the tree, so if you took a cross-section of an Asian Longhorned Beetle infested tree, it would look like a piece of Swiss cheese because of this tunneling and feeding.”
 
Santos says the Department of Agriculture found infested trees in Massachusetts in 2008, but the beetles may been at work in the state at least ten years previously. Since then, Massachusetts has had the largest Longhorned Beetle infestation in the country, with 30,000 infested trees found primarily in the Worcester area and removed.
 
Santos says while eradication efforts in Massachusetts have been somewhat successful, the USDA relies on the public to be on the lookout for Asian Longhorned Beetles.
 
“So it’s really important that people take a look at the trees. You can start by taking a look at the trees on your property, the trees in your community, when you’re out hiking, running, camping.”
 
The USDA says the beetles can be recognized by their long black and white antennae, and shiny black body with random white spots. 
 
For more information on how to help stop the spread of Asian Longhorned Beetles, click here.