USDA to property owners: Check trees for pests

The U.S. Department of Agriculture urges the public to look for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle in August, a peak time for its emergence from trees. Early detection is crucial to limiting the spread of the invasive pest.

A devastating invasive pest with no known natural predators, the Asian longhorned beetle threatens recreational areas, forests and suburban and urban shade trees.

It has led to the loss of more than 130,000 trees in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Illinois since it first was discovered in the United States in 1996, after having arrived here probably inside wood-packing material from Asia.

“It truly has the potential to be a landscape-altering pest,” said Robyn Rose, of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “The beetle is not limited to attacking just one certain geographic region in this country. It attacks a wide variety of hardwoods, which makes it a threat to every state.”

Once a tree is infested, it must be removed.

The beetle bores through the tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the tree, which causes the tree to starve, weaken and eventually die.

Larvae burrow deep into the heartwood of trees and cannot be reached by insecticide treatments.

“Take a close look at the trees in your backyard or favorite hiking or camping destination. The beetle is somewhat menacing-looking, but it is harmless to humans and pets. It can be seen on trees, branches, walls, outdoor furniture, cars, and sidewalks and caught in pool filters,” Rose said.

Report sightings and submit photos online at