Residents urged to check trees, report Asian longhorned beetle

RDN REPORTS
rdnnews@gmail.com
Asian longhorned beetle.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging residents to check trees for Asian longhorned beetle and report infested trees to Forest Health staff. 

According to the department, the invasive, wood-boring insect can feed on more than 20 different species of trees common to Missouri and can destroy millions of acres of trees across the U.S., decimating both rural and community forests. 

Missouri currently has no known Asian longhorned beetle infestations. Still, populations of the destructive species can be found in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and South Carolina, with thousands of trees destroyed in each state to control the spread of the insect. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation asks residents to help protect local forests by finding and reporting the destructive pest. 

The best time of year to look for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle is late summer when tree damage caused by the pest is most visible. 

The beetle’s preferred host tree is red maple; but, the Asian longhorned beetle will attack many other trees, including boxelder, buckeye, willow, elm, ash, birch, sycamore, mimosa, mountain ash, golden raintree and most maple species. 

The department said people should look for:

  • Large beetles with black, shiny bodies and white spots
  • Antennae that are long with black and white stripes

Tree signs and symptoms of an Asian longhorned beetle infestation include:

  • Large, round exit holes
  • Fine wood shavings collecting around the trunk or on branches
  • Leaves on some branches showing fall colors early

Report suspect beetles and infested trees by sending photos to Forest Health staff at Forest.Health@mdc.mo.gov.

Learn more about Asian longhorned beetle and its connections to Missouri by visiting MDC’s field guide, or the USDA resource page.

A. An adult male Asian longhorned beetle (Michael Bohne, USDA Forest Service). B. Large, round exit hole created when an adult beetle chewed out of this tree (Joe Boggs, The Ohio State University). C. A tree damaged by many years of Asian longhorned beetle infestation (PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources-Forestry). All images courtesy Bugwood.org.