Foresters Battle Spread of Asian Long-Horned Beetle

By Alex Keown | Posted: 07/30/2014 11:35AM

 

WASHINGTON - Clear-cutting is being viewed as an effective way to contain the spread of the pesky and deadly Asian long-horned beetle. The beetles, along with the emerald ash borer, have wreaked environmental and economic devastation on North American hardwood trees.

Government and industry leaders across parts of the United States and Canada have had to resort to cutting down large swaths of trees in an effort to prevent the spread of insects like the Asian long-horned beetle. In towns like Worcester, MA, more than 34,000 trees have been removed in that city’s effort to fight the pest. In some areas the tree removal has reduced the insects’ presence to very small numbers. Although expensive, especially during tight budget years, the clear cutting method has been effective, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2013 declaring areas of New York City and the state of New Jersey free of the infestation.  In Worcester, the beetle population is down about 95 percent, according to the USDA.

Since its discovery in the United States in 1996, the Asian long horned beetle has destroyed tens of thousands of hardwood trees across several states. According to the USDA, the beetle has been the source of forestry destruction in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. However, all states are at risk, the USDA warns. The beetle has also been found in Toronto, although in 2013 the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture declared Ontario to be free of the long horned beetle.

Asian Longhorned Beelte The beetle has so far been confined to primarily urban areas, but officials are worried about a possible spread into forested areas important to recreational and commercial interests. The Wall Street Journal reported that the North East State Foresters Association, which represents foresters in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, estimates those states generate more than $33 billion in economic activity each year from forest products and recreation.

Beetle an Unwelcome Asian Import
Forestry experts believe the beetle, which is native to China, Japan and Korea, came to North America and Europe on wooden packing material made using trees that the beetles had infested. The insect has no known natural predators and it threatens recreational areas, forests, and suburban and urban shade trees.

Adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall. Throughout those months they can be seen on the tree or surrounding areas. During the winter, the larvae tunnel deep into and feed on the trees they infect.

Infected trees typically show dime-sized holes in the bark where the larvae have chewed their way out. Additionally there may be shallow scars on the tree bark, as well as signs of a sawdust-like material at the base of the tree, or on the branches. Trees will also show a loss of canopy and dead branches. Once a tree has been infected with the Asian long horned beetle, there is no remedy, other than cutting down the tree. Removing the tree could prevent the beetle from spreading to healthier neighboring trees.

The beetle is known to have infected more than a dozen different types of trees, including ash, birch, elm, maple, poplar, willow and mountain ash.

Emerald Ash Borer a Tree Killer
The USDA has developed a Video, Stop the Asian long-horned Beetle, and a website, beetlebusters.info, to enlist the public's help to thwart the spread of the ALB. - See more at: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-market-trends/woodworking-industry-news/production-woodworking-news/USDA-Funds-148M-to-Combat-Asian-Longhorned-Beetle-in-Ohio-165468426.html#sthash.SXnxFwCr.dpuf

Like the Asian long-horned beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer has caused untold amounts of damage to Ash trees across North America. The borer is likely to kill 99 percent of ash wood trees, according to the U.S. Forestry Service. Officials said the devastation will likely vary by species of ash trees, with black and green ash trees the most likely to disappear. Officials believe the Ash Borer will spare 30-40 percent or more of the blue ash, and 20-30 percent of the white ash.

Attention is now turning to using lumber from the trees killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Southeast Michigan Research Conservation and Development (RC&D) Ash Utilization Options Project funded a demonstration project using Emerald Ash Borer wood at the Ann Arbor Traverwood Branch Library. Harvested ash trees from the building site were milled into flooring, wall and ceiling paneling, and shelving. Some of the harvested trees were used intact as support beams and columns


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About the Author

Alex Keown WoodworkingNetwork

Alex Keown

Alex Keown is a freelance journalist living in Bloomingdale, IL. Alex, a native of North Carolina, spent many years writing for community publications across his home state and suburban Chicago.  keown.alex@gmail.com


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