Nature & Outdoors

Learn to Identify the Asian Longhorned Beetle

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by Josh Wood Friday October 9, 2009

Asian Longhorned BeetleAlmost one year ago, a larva of one of these exotic bugs appeared in some Cranston cordwood shipped from Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester has long since been under quarantine to keep these pests from spreading to other parts of the region, and the Cranston larva almost got away.

Meet the Asian Longhorned Beetle. They bore into trees and eventually kill them. Their favorites are maples, birch and horse chestnut, but they’re not too picky. Worcester had to destroy over 20,000 trees as a result of the infestation.

Kate Sayles of the Rhode Island Tree Council will be at the Pawtuxet Farmers’ Market on October 10, with educational information and wallet sized identification cards to help identify the beetle.

The beetles don’t travel far on their own, but they do get around when they burrow into the wood of shipping containers bound for the US from Asia or if they catch a ride on cordwood cut and transported from infested forest. Rhode Island is susceptible on both fronts.

Colin M.J. Novick, executive director of the Greater Worcester Land Trust, told the Worcester-Telegram “The faster you realize you have the beetle and recognize the signs, the better.” Worcester’s infestation had been underway for 10 years before the beetle was identified.

Rhode Island foresters are counting on residents to look for signs the pest before the damage can be done.


Cranston Style: Bug Alert


Official USDA advice on Asian Longhorned Beetle control, hosted by the RI Natural History Survey.
Info from the University of Vermont.
Common beetles that look like the Asian Longhorned Beetle, but are OK.
Info on the Worcester outbreak.

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