Tree Check Month
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.
You 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.