August is Tree Check Month

One of the greatest weapons we have in the fight against invasive species is the power of the public.  That means public awareness, thousands of eyes out in communities around the country on the lookout for the first signs of a new infestation.  The average citizen reporting a concern to a natural resources professional is often the first step towards identifying a new threat.  August is officially Tree Check Month for the Asian Longhorned Beetle as this is the time of year the insect is the most active and most likely to be seen.  While out enjoying your favorite recreation activities this summer (or what is left of it anyway) we encourage you to flex your own observation muscles and be on the lookout for this black and white bug.  We don’t have them yet in Michigan and we’d like to keep it that way!

Below is a blog post by American Forests.

 

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Take Part in Tree Check Month

August 1st, 2013 by Scott Maxham

 

Earlier this week, American Forests joined the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to spread awareness about an invasive pest destroying hardwood trees, especially maples: the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).

The beetle was first found in the U.S. in 1996 and is thought to have been transported in wooden packing material from Asia. They are known to infest 13 different species of trees. The most threatened tree is the maple. This is problematic to those who rely on harvesting its syrup and local ecotourism for those who enjoy viewing their beautiful fall foliage. Other trees infected by these pests are poplars, birch, ash, mimosa, willows and elms.

Infographic from: http://asianlonghornedbeetle.comALB-infographic-296x300

When this beetle burrows into a tree, there is no saving it, as the beetle starves trees by disconnecting tree tissues that transport nutrients and water. The beetle has been found in various states throughout the country, including New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois, and many fear that if ALB is left unchecked, it could spread to more northeastern states and even Canada. There is good news, though, as two states — New Jersey and Illinois — have been able to completely eradicate the bug from their trees. The key to the success is in early detection of an infestation, which allows a tree to be removed before ALB can spread to the tree’s neighbors. That’s where Tree Check Month comes into play.

APHIS has declared August as Tree Check Month because it is when the beetles become most active, meaning you are most likely to spot them. The concept is simple: If you’re outdoors this August, take 10 minutes to look over your trees and make sure they are not being eaten by ALB — don’t worry the pest is harmless to people and pets.

 

What should you be looking for?

Dime-sized exit holes
Shallow scars in the bark
Sawdust-like material on the ground or on branches
Dead branches
Sap seeping from wounds

Asian Longhorned Beetle. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

asian-longhorned-199x300Of course, the most obvious clue would be actually seeing the beetle. It is an inch and a half long with a black body with white spots on it. They have long antennas that are black and white and six legs that may be light blue. In addition to trees, the beetle can also be found on walls, outdoor furniture, cars, sidewalks and often are caught in pool filters.

Remember that one of the most common ways that invasive pests like ALB spread is by moving firewood, so only use local firewood and never take it with you.

Help us stop the spread of ALB by taking just 10 minutes to look over trees in your yard or favorite park. Together, we can rid our forests, lawns and parks of these unwanted pests.

P.S. For more tips and resources on ALB, visit APHIS’ website dedicated to ALB.

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