Handbook Underway to Help Unmask New Wood-Boring BeetleBy
Researchers are assembling a scientific handbook on the Asian longhorned
wood-boring beetle, a tree pest first found in the U.S. in 1996 in Brooklyn. If
Anoplophora glabripennis spreads unchecked, it could cause millions of
dollars in damage to ornamental trees and the maple syrup, lumber and tourism
Agricultural Research Service
entomologist Steve Lingafelter is preparing the handbook with a scientist at
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. When
completed, it will help pest control officials nationwide distinguish Asian
pests from thousands of species of longhorned wood-boring beetles that are U.S.
Most of these native beetles consume only dead wood and cause little harm.
But in Brooklyn, the new pest attacked living maples, horse chestnuts and elms.
The wormlike larvae bore holes that disrupt a tree's vascular tubes for water
and nutrients, eventually killing it.
In March 1997, workers began cutting down, chipping and burning infested
trees in Brooklyn and Amityville, New York. Cargo inspectors recently
intercepted the beetles in crating materials in other states, including
California, South Carolina and Canada.
The pest is native to China, Japan and Korea. It could survive and
reproduce in most sections of the United States. The adult is more than an inch
long and is coal-black with yellow or white spots. The beetle's long antennae
have black and white bands.
Lingafelter works in Washington, D.C., at ARS'
Systematic Entomology Laboratory.
He made the official USDA identification of the Brooklyn beetles and regulatory
agencies continue to rely on him in identifying new suspects.
The handbook will be part of a national strategy to eradicate the beetle.
Experts with ARS and USDA's Forest Service
and Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service make up the team developing the strategy. An article about the
beetle appears in the February issue of ARS' Agricultural Research
magazine and is also on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contact: Steve Lingafelter, ARS
Systematic Entomology Laboratory,
U.S. National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168, Washington, D.C., phone (202)
382-1793, fax (202) 786-9422,firstname.lastname@example.org.