The Federal Government has been struggling to eradicate the Asian longhorned beetle from the United States for more than a decade. This beetle species was first detected in the US when specimens were found in several Massachusetts trees during the month of August. August is the best time to spot Asian longhorned beetles before they inflict damage to residential trees, which is why the US Department of Agriculture is asking residents of the northeast to take at least five minutes to inspect their trees for the destructive insects. In fact, the USDA has declared the month of August “tree check month” in an effort to spread awareness about the department’s effort to eradicate the beetles from the US. Checking your trees for this insect’s presence will not only prevent a destructive infestation from taking shape within your yard, but reporting the beetles to officials with the USDA quickens the beetle’s eradication from the US.

Since the Asian longhorned beetle was detected in Massachusetts a little more than a decade ago, 36,000 trees in the northeast have been killed by this insect’s destructive feeding habits. In the past, homeowners of Worcester have seen the greatest degree of tree destruction on account of this beetle species, and officials with the USDA state that residents of the city should be particularly mindful about this insect’s presence in their yards every year around August. According to Josie Ryan, the national operations manager for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program, the beetle pests are slow to spread during the early stages of an infestation, so detecting the insects during August will prevent the pests from infesting an entire neighborhood. Reporting the insects to state and federal officials will also allow pest controllers to track the insect’s spread into new areas where they had not been found before. USDA officials also mentioned that trees victimized by these beetles have been known to fall over due to their weakened condition, posing a serious safety hazard to residents of neighborhoods where these beetles are present. The Asian longhorned beetle can be recognized by its long antennae and jet black exterior featuring tiny white dots. The beetles are between an inch and an inch and a half in length.

Are there any trees in your yard that have become damaged by past Asian longhorned beetle damage?