Tree Check Month

 In Blog, Pest & Disease, Trees

Hap­py Tree Check Month! Wait, you didn’t know it’s tree check month? It’s easy to cel­e­brate – just take 10 min­utes to check your trees for a pest threat­en­ing our region’s for­est.

The Asian long­horned bee­tle (ALB) is a pest that has been found in New York, New Jer­sey, Mass­a­chu­setts, Ohio, and Illi­nois.

While the pest hasn’t been found in Penn­syl­va­nia yet, our neigh­bors to the north, east, and west have all seen ALB in their trees. The ALB pos­es a sig­nif­i­cant threat to our state’s tim­ber, maple syrup, and tourism indus­tries – as well as the Pitts­burgh urban for­est.

Asian longhorned beetleYou can spot the Asian long­horned bee­tle in your trees in a num­ber of ways. Pri­mar­i­ly, the bug itself! Gen­er­al­ly, they are 1–1.5 inch­es long with 6 legs. They have a shiny black body, with ran­dom white spots and blue legs. While the insect is visu­al­ly strik­ing, its poten­tial impact on our urban for­est is scary.

You can also look for signs that the ALB has made its way into your trees (where it is no longer sus­cep­ti­ble to treat­ments). These signs include:

  • dime-sized, per­fect­ly round exit holes;
  • oval-shaped depres­sions on the bark where the eggs are laid;
  • saw­dust-like mate­r­i­al, called frass, on the ground and branch­es;
  • sap seep­ing from wounds in the tree.

The ALB likes hard­wood trees like ash, birch, elm, gold­en rain­tree, hack­ber­ry, horsech­est­nut, Kat­sura, maple, mimosa, moun­tain ash, Lon­don plan­e­tree, poplar, and wil­low. If you have these trees on your prop­er­ty, take 10 min­utes to check them for the Asian long­horned bee­tle.

If you think you’ve spot­ted the ALB or signs of its dam­age, use your smart phone or tablet to take a pic­ture and call the PA Depart­ment of Agriculture’s toll-free pest hot­line at 1–866-253‑7189. If you have a smart phone, down­load the Out­smart Inva­sive Species app to aid you in your tree checks for Asian long­horned bee­tle and lots of oth­er pests and inva­sives! If you don’t have a smart phone, you can watch this YouTube video by the cre­ators of the Out­smart app.

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