Federal and state officials say tree survey efforts underway in Ohio

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) say that surveys are underway in Bethel, Ohio, after the detection and identification of the Asian longhorned beetle. Bethel is located 30 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

History

First discovered in the U.S. in 1996, Asian longhorned beetles attack several species of trees including maple, willow, horsechestnut, buckeye, and American elm. While in its larvae stage, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) kills trees by tunneling into large branches and the trunk.

Ohio is the fifth state to detect ALB, which APHIS confirmed in Bethel after a citizen reported finding unusual damage in three maple trees to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry service forester. Previous infestations sites, where the beetles are being successfully contained, include Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Surveying

APHIS and ODA inspection crews are surveying the southern portion of Bethel and the surrounding area to determine the extent of the ALB infestation. Crews will inspect host tree species susceptible to ALB for signs of the wood-boring beetle using ground surveyors and specially trained tree climbers.

APHIS and the ODA are working cooperatively with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the town of Bethel to evaluate the scope of the infestation and to inform the public about the exotic, invasive pest.

Citizens can help by reporting sightings of an unusual beetle and any signs of infestation to a designated, toll free hotline 855-252-6450.

Characteristics

Adult ALB are usually large, distinctive-looking insects measuring one to one and half inches long, not including antennae. Their white-banded antennae can be as long as the body itself in females and almost twice the body length in males.

Infestation signs

Signs of infestation include perfectly round exit holes (about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter) made by adult beetles when they emerge from trees; the pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where female beetles deposit eggs; frass (wood shavings and saw dust) produced by larvae feeding and tunneling; early fall coloration of leaves or dead branches, and running sap produced by the tree at the egg laying sites, or in response to larval tunneling.

To report signs or symptoms of ALB, call the Ohio Survey Program toll free at 855-252-6450. For more information, visit www.aphis.usda.gov and www.agri.ohio.gov.

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