An insect about the size of a thumb is threatening Ohio trees. It’s shiny and black with white spots and two long antennae…and it’s eating our trees. USDA officials are urging property owners to be on the lookout this summer for this invasive, and hungry, beetle. ideastream’s Anne Glausser has the details.
When an Asian longhorned beetle sinks its teeth into a hardwood, the inside of that tree will eventually look like a piece of Swiss cheese.
These beetles were discovered in the states a couple decades ago, likely brought in from China. Areas of Ohio, Massachusetts and New York are all infested, but the good thing is, according to the USDA, this pest could be completely eradicated. That’s because the beetle can’t fly very far and just sort of crawls around. They’re easy to spot and leave dime-sized pockmarks in trees, sometimes with sawdust on the ground underneath.
Clermont County in southern Ohio is a current hotspot but the USDA urges all property owners to check their trees and report any invasions. They say they’re following up on all cases reported.
“It’s a pretty voracious eater and has a pretty broad palate—eating Maple and Ash and Poplar—up to 13 different types of trees which makes it so potentially devastating,” said USDA Deputy Undersecretary Gary Woodward.
The Asian longhorned beetle is far easier to get rid of then its compadre, the emerald ash borer. Both are beetles but the ash borer is a better flier and it’s now in 20 states. Officials say no eradication plans exist for that invader and homeowners are on their own.
For more information, visit the USDA’s Asian longhorned beetle website. To report an infestation, call 1-866-702-9938.