MDC encourages Missourians to check trees for Asian longhorned beetle

News from the region
Published Date
09/07/2021
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COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) urges all Missourians to check trees for Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). This invasive, wood-boring insect can feed on more than 20 different species of trees common to Missouri. ALB has the potential to destroy millions of acres of trees across the U.S., decimating both rural and community forests.

Missouri currently has no known ALB infestations, but populations of this destructive species can be found in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina. In order to control the spread of this insect, thousands of trees have been destroyed in each of these states. One way to prevent a local ALB infestation is to not move firewood long distances from where it was harvested.

The best time of year to look for signs of ALB is late summer, when tree damage caused by the pest is most visible. The beetle’s preferred host tree is red maple, but ALB will attack many other trees, including boxelder, buckeye, willow, elm, ash, birch, sycamore, mimosa, mountain ash, golden raintree, and most maple species.

Help protect your local forest from the devastating effects of ALB by finding and reporting this destructive pest. Take an evening stroll through your yard or neighborhood, keeping an eye out for the large, showy beetle and the damage it causes to trees.

What to look for:

  • Large beetles with black, shiny bodies and white spots;
  • Antennae are long with black and white stripes.

Tree signs and symptoms of an ALB infestation include:

  • Large, round exit holes;
  • Fine wood shavings collecting around the trunk or on branches
  • Leaves on some branches showing fall colors early

Report suspect beetles and infested trees by sending photos to MDC’s Forest Health staff at Forest.Health@mdc.mo.gov.

Learn more about ALB and its connections to Missouri by visiting MDC’s field guide, or the USDA resource page.