Area residents are familiar with the emerald ash borer and the green insect’s threat to our foliage, but we’re also being asked to be on guard for another insect that’s equally as lethal to a much wider variety of trees. Rhonda Santos, a spokeswoman for the USDA, says this is the ideal time of year for Iowa homeowners to examine their trees for the Asian longhorned beetle and to report any clues they find about the invasive pest.
Unlike the emerald ash borer, the Asian longhorned beetle likes to feed on a host of trees, including: ash, birch, elm, sycamore, maple, buckeye, poplar and willow. The bug has distinct markings and leaves behind a series of holes and other signs in trees that make it quick to identify.
The beetle is not native to the U.S. and has few-to-no natural predators. Santos encourages Iowans to take five minutes and give your trees a close inspection for those round holes or sawdust.
The beetle was first spotted in the U.S. in New York in 1996 and spread quickly. It’s one of a group of invasive pests and plant diseases that costs the nation some $40-billion each year in losses to trees, plants, and crops. For more information or to report the insect or tree damage, visit www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com.