Nature Lab

By Bonnie Chasteen | July 1, 2020
From Missouri Conservationist: July 2020

Each month, we highlight research MDC uses to improve fish, forest, and wildlife management.

Invasive Species Management

Asian Longhorned Beetle Survey

What’s black with white spots and long, curved antennae?

“The Asian longhorned beetle!” said MDC Forest Entomologist Robbie Doerhoff.

MDC is asking Missourians who own swimming pools to keep an eye out for this invasive forest pest in July and August.

Why swimming pools?

“They’re basically giant insect collectors, trapping anything that falls in,” Doerhoff said.

The adult beetles are cool-looking insects, but their larvae tunnel under the bark and into the heartwood of native trees, eventually killing them. The Asian longhorned beetle is currently devastating trees in parts of Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

“The goal is to keep them out of Missouri, but if they are here, we want to know about it,” Doerhoff said.

“While this pest can be stopped, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of trees may be cut down in the process,” Doerhoff said. “Finding an Asian longhorned beetle infestation early means fewer trees will be removed. In an urban area, this is especially important because trees benefit communities in many ways, from storm water mitigation to savings on home energy costs.”

Asian longhorned beetle infestations in other states have been the result of the beetle’s larvae hitching a ride in the wood packaging material used to secure heavy freight during shipping from Asia. It’s also a pest that can hitchhike in firewood, allowing this tree-killer to move long distances during a weekend camping trip.

“Our Asian longhorned beetle pool survey is a total citizen-science effort. Throughout the months of July and August, we’re asking people with pools to check their filters and email us photos of large beetles they find,” Doerhoff said.

Asian Longhorned Beetles at a Glance

  • Larvae kill native trees, including maple, elm, and buckeye
  • No known populations in Missouri
  • Early detection will help save trees
  • Check your home pool filter and send photos of large beetles to
What to Look for
  • Two long black-and white antennae
  • Shiny black body with white spots
  • Six legs
  • 1–1½ inch-long body

Don’t move firewood!

Learn more about Asian longhorned beetles at

Also In This Issue

Spicebush Swallowtail on a brach
Deception — including false eyes — helps spicebush swallowtail caterpillars survive to adulthood.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler