Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) are wood-boring beetles native to Asia that were accidentally introduced to the United States through wood-packing materials. These pests attack a variety of hardwoods, including maples, birches, and willows, among others, and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging swimming pool owners to participate in DEC’s annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey. During late summer, ALB emerge as adults and are active outside of their host tree. The goal of the survey is to locate infestations of these invasive pests before they cause serious damage to the State’s forests and street trees.
From now until swimming pools are closed for the season, DEC is asking pool owners to periodically check their filters for insects that resemble ALB, and report suspects either by emailing photos to email@example.com or mailing insects to DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostics Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054, Attn: Liam Somers.
People without swimming pools can help the effort by reporting signs of ALB in their communities. The invasive pest ALB:
- Is about 1.5 inches long, black with white spots, and have black and white antennae;
- Leave perfectly round exit holes about the size of a dime in branches and trunks of host trees; and
- Create sawdust-like material called frass that collects on branches and around the base of trees.
The State Department of Agriculture and Markets has worked to manage ALB infestations in New York, successfully eradicating them from Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip, and Queens. The beetle is still actively managed in central Long Island, and there are active infestations in Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Carolina.
For more information on the ALB Swimming Pool Survey and ALB, including biology and identification tools, visit DEC’s website.
Photo of Asian longhorned beetle by Joe Boggs Ohio State University.