Ag Weekly: Watch out for maple tree-loving Asian long-horned beetle

Ag Weekly: Watch out for maple tree-loving Asian long-horned beetle
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:20 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - August is National Tree Check Month and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has one bug in particular they’re warning New Yorkers about: the Asian long-horned beetle.

“Which is an invasive species first found downstate in 1996,” Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturalist Sue Gwise said. “It is a wood boring beetle. It bores into hardwood trees.”

Marked with a distinct black-spotted body and long antennae, the beetle is blueish in color and fatal to maple trees.

“The larval stage feeds into the wood, eventually cutting off the tree’s supply of water, and the tree dies,” Gwise said. “One of its favorite species is maple, so we don’t want it up here.”

The beetle has yet to be seen in our area — so far — but has been identified in other parts of the state.

“It’s been found downstate, Long Island, New York City, Brooklyn,” Gwise said. “If the Asian long-horned beetle does move into the area, once trees are infested, there is no control. They will come in and remove all the trees, the infested trees and the adjacent ones, to stop the spread.”

You can look for signs of them in your tree bark.

“What you’re going to see in the tree would be holes in the bark, rather large holes that look like somebody took a power drill and made a perfect circle.”

But don’t confuse the Asian Longhorn with a native species, the whitespotted pine sawyer, which is relatively harmless.

“So, if you do find something you’re suspicious of, give us a call at Cooperative Extension,” Gwise said. “We can come out, take a look, and tell you what’s going on.”