The Asian longhorned beetle is native to China, but the insects established an invasive population in the northeast United States and southeast Canada during the late 1990s. Since then, these insects have moved westward, and have inflicted tremendous environmental and property damage costing billions of dollars. These invasive insects attack and kill dozens of plant species from 15 families, but the insects are most notable for destroying elm, willow and oak trees in both public and privately owned forested areas as well as on residential properties. These insects can never be fully eradicated from the United States, and property owners in the northeast have become concerned about future outbreaks. As of 2014, longhorned beetles and other invasive wood-boring insect pests cost the US more than 3 billion dollars per year in damage and control costs. Unfortunately, most of this cost is paid by municipal governments and homeowners.

Due to this insect’s heavy presence in residential areas, homeowners have found the majority of longhorned beetle specimens that have been collected, and homeowners are responsible for pinpointing most infestations that have grown into large scale outbreaks. A little more than a decade ago, an outbreak of longhorned beetles occured in Worcester, and since then, more than 25,000 trees have been found in the city. While Asian longhorned beetles can infest trees located on privately owned properties, which can be costly for homeowners, wood-boring beetles that damage structural wood within homes are much less of a concern in the northeast.

Household beetle pests to structural wood, such as powderpost beetles, false powderpost beetles, and deathwatch beetle larvae, bore into structural wood just as Asian longhorned beetle larvae bore into natural wood sources, but Asian longhorned beetles do not damage structural wood sources. Other pests like ambrosia beetles and flathead borers can also infest structural wood, but structural wood pests do not inflict a significant degree of damage to natural wood sources. Structural wood-boring pests are not nearly as economically significant as invasive longhorned beetles are to natural tree sources, and while structural wood-boring beetle pests may be difficult to notice, they are easily managed once an infestation is discovered.

Have you ever found an Asian longhorned beetle on your property?