Asian longhorned beetle attacking Ohio trees


The Asian longhorned beetle is attacking trees in Ohio to the point that more than 114,000 trees have been removed due to infestation and damage. If left unchecked, the damage will become far more severe.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared August as “Tree Check Month” for the Asian longhorned beetle. The department is asking the residents of Ohio to check their trees for this invasive insect and the damage it causes and limit the movement of host materials, such as firewood.

The beetle has not yet been reported as being found in Highland County, but is being watched especially close in nearby Clermont County.

“You can help us protect more trees and eliminate the beetle from the United States. If you take a walk, take a look,” Josie Ryan, national operations manager for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program at the USDA, said. “The sooner we spot the beetle, the sooner we can help stop its spread.”

This beetle is an invasive, wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in North America such as maples, elms, buckeyes, birches and willows. Infested trees do not recover and eventually die. Infested trees also become safety hazards since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms.

In its larval stage, the insect feeds inside tree trunks and branches, creating tunnels as it feeds, then adults chew their way out in the warmer months, leaving about 3/4-inch round exit holes. Once they exit a tree, they feed on its leaves and bark before mating and laying eggs, which creates another generation of tree-killing beetles.

The adult beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

  • A shiny black body with white spots that is about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long.
  • Black and white antennae that are longer than the insect’s body.
  • Six legs and feet that can appear bluish in color.

Signs that a tree might be infested include:

  • Round exit holes in tree trunks and branches about the size of a dime or smaller.
  • Egg sites that are shallow, oval or round wounds in the bark where sap might weep.
  • Sawdust-like material called frass found on the ground around the tree or on the branches.
  • Branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

You can help stop the spread of the beetle and eliminate it by checking trees and limiting the movement of host materials, such as firewood. Doing this keeps infestations from spreading to new locations.

If you think you found a beetle or tree damage, report it by calling the Asian LongB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or submitting an online report at

Try to photograph the beetle or tree damage. If you can, capture the beetle in a durable container and freeze it, which helps preserve the insect for identification. Then report it.

The USDA program has eradicated beetle infestations in Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; New Jersey; Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Islip in New York; and a portion of East Fork State Park, and Stonelick and Monroe townships in Ohio.

For more information about the ALB and the eradication efforts, visit

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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