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Asian longhorned beetle

Alien Wood-Boring Beetles Turn up in Six New States

By Hank Becker
September 28, 1998

The invasion by alien Asian longhorned wood-boring beetles heated up this summer, with discoveries in six new states: California, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

Known to scientists as Anoplophoraglabripennis, the pest was first found in the U.S. last year in Brooklyn. So far, only the New York and Illinois populations appear established. Beetles at the other localities likely are isolated interceptions from cargo. Unchecked, however, the pests could spread to threaten ornamental trees and the maple syrup, lumber and tourism industries. The insects attack maples, horse chestnuts and elms. In Brooklyn and Chicago, workers have had to cut down, chip and burn infested trees.

Regulatory agencies rely on Agricultural Research Service entomologist Steve Lingafelter in Washington, D.C., to make official USDA identifications of the pests. He works at the Systematic Entomology Laboratory operated by ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific agency.

Over an inch long, the adult beetle is coal black with yellow or white spots. Its long antennae have black and white bands. The adults' peak activity period—and mating season—extends from about July 5 to September 5.

The beetles were first discovered outside New York state in April, when cargo inspectors intercepted them in crating material at a port of entry in Elizabeth, N.J.In June and July, inspectors found them at Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; and Oakland and Long Beach, Calif. In addition, adult beetles were found in July in Burns Harbor, Ind.; Wheeling, Ill.; and Bellingham, Wash.; and in August in Summit, Ill.

ARS has developed a research program in cooperation with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA's Forest Service, Cornell University and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The research is aimed at providing technology to control or eradicate the pest in the United States.

Scientific contact: Steve Lingafelter, ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, U.S. National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., (202) 382-1793, fax (202) 786-9422,

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