Even though the winter is now upon us, many of us still like to pull on some warmer clothes and get out in nature, whether it is a hike along a favorite trail or strolling the streets of the city or town. Next time you are out for a stroll, wherever it may be, take time to stop and have a look at the trees along your route, right now the branches and bark on trees are very visible due to dormancy and no snow accumulation. Wood borrowing insects, such as the Asian Longhorn Beetle, (ALHB) a quarantine insect pest in Canada, can be identified by looking for various symptoms on dormant trees. Although ALHB is not known to be on PEI yet, it is important to keep an eye out for it… early detection is key to being able to eradicate invasives like ALHB once they are introduced.
Asian Longhorned Beetle, (Anoplophora glabripennis), also known as the Starry Sky Beetle, is an invasive wood boring insect native to China and Korea. It is considered to be a major pest of hardwood trees, including maple, elm, poplar and willow and poses a high risk to urban and natural forests in Canada. This wood boring pest is believed to have been introduced to both the US and Canada via wooden items including wood packaging material from China. The first detection in Canada was in 2003 in southern Ontario and again in 2013 near the Toronto airport. Eradication efforts are ongoing through tree removal and disposal. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the ALHB and conducts surveys for the pest each year.
Life Cycle and Signs of ALHB:
ALHB requires 1 to 2 years to complete its development from egg to adults. Females chew oval-shaped oviposition pits into the bark and inject their eggs between July and mid-October. After hatching, the larvae feed on the outer surface of the sapwood, creating feeding galleries under the bark into the heartwood of the tree. Pupation occurs the next year in early June to mid-August, at which time the adults emerge from the tree creating exit holes around the size of a dime. Damage symptoms can be apparent at any time of the year and can include:
Holes just smaller than a dime (6-14mm) on any part of the tree and are created by the beetle emerging from the tree. The holes can number in the hundreds on the tree or can be very few depending on the level of infestation.
Frass, a sawdust like material that is created as a result of the beetle chewing and exiting the tree. Frass can collect in the in the branch axis or at the base of the tree.
Oviposition pits, are shallow, oval to round pits that have a darkened appearance on the bark, are where the female lays her eggs. A foamy sap may also appear running from the oviposition sites and will attract wasps and hornets.
Thinning of the crown and dead branches.
Cracked or missing bark.
During the fall and throughout the dormancy of the tree, is the best time to identify exit holes, as the branches are bare and free of leaves.
Look A Likes:
The most common native look-a-like is the White Spotted Sawyer Beetle which feeds on dead or dying softwood trees (conifers). The White Spotted Sawyer Beetle is bronzy black with a rough dimpled surface with very small, indistinct white spots on the back. The antennae on the males are completely black and twice as long as the body, the females have white and black stripes and are slightly longer than the body.
What to do you if you see this pest:
Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at 902-566-7290 or 1-800-442-2342. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates ALHB and conducts annual surveys to detect this pest PEI and the other provinces.
As a home owner you can help stop the spread of any insect pest, including Asian Long Horn Beetle, by reporting any signs or symptoms described above. Also, since many forest type pests can be found within the tree, please remember to not move firewood if you are traveling within or outside of the province.
For photos of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, check out this link: