Mission: Asian longhorned beetle

Dean Morewood, Bugwood.org

Research Question

Is the Asian longhorned beetle in your town?

You're invited

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) wants Maine on the lookout for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). If it ever moves to Maine it promises to have a devastating impact on our maple trees, other hardwoods, and the species that rely on these trees to survive. Look up. Do you see any spotted beetles with very long black and white banded antennae? Do you see signs of their activity?

Official Invite from the USDA

Mission steps

If we don’t find and stop the Asian longhorned beetle, we’ll lose more than trees.
Christine Markham, USDA APHIS National Director, ALB Eradication Program

1. Print the ALB species card

2. Print a Upland Species Survey datasheet

3. Find a maple, birch, horsechestnut, willow, or elm tree

4. Look for the beetle, or signs of the beetle detailed on the species card

5. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link at top right) to add your "ALB found" or "ALB not found" observation

    -Add to your Field Notes the number of trees you looked at (1 or more)
    -Add to your Field Notes the species of trees you looked at

6. Go to the Beetle Detectives website to send your observation to the USDA

    -Pick "Maine-Vital Signs, Gulf of Maine Research Institute"
    -Copy and paste the URL to your Vital Signs observation as part of your description
    -NOTE: USDA asks that you look at a minimum of 10 host trees:
    >Teachers & students: Pool your class data to reach 10 trees
    >Citizen scientists: Don't have 10 host trees nearby? Work with your neighbors!

7. When you report your observations to Beetle Detectives website they want to thank you with some cool items that will help you in the field (a field notebook, a hand lens, and a nylon disc).

Why this Mission matters

The ALB grows inside hardwood trees. The tunneling larvae eventually kill trees like maples and birches that are central to forest ecosystems and developed areas throughout Maine.

Direct from the USDA's Beetle Busters website:
Since it was first discovered in Brooklyn, New York in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. If the ALB were to become established here, it could become one of the most destructive and costly pests ever to enter the United States. If we don’t find and stop the ALB, we’ll lose more than trees. We’ll lose industries worth billions of dollars – and wildlife habitats too. Our yards and neighborhoods will take decades to recover.

With your help, Maine Forest Service and USDA APHIS will be better able to develop a response plan in the early stages of an infestation. This provides many more options, and will save trees and state and federal resources in the process.

Want to know and do more?

APHIS Image Library
Do an Advanced Search for "Asian longhorned beetle"

Beetle Buster Videos
Watch videos and public service announcements

Curriculum resources for educators
Inquiry lesson plans and action steps for middle school and high school students


Here is a cool resource to see county level observations of forest pests from across the country http://foresthealth.fs.usda.gov/portal/Flex/APE

This shows where some of those species that haven't been found in Maine yet, have been found. I'm not sure if it's totally up to date since I didn't see red pine scale found in Maine.


Prove that you have found it and I will tell you what it is

I have these Beatles and teeny are all over the place where I live in waterboro.

I think 75% that I have found ASIAN LONGHORN BEETLE but I need to get the photos fixed then i promis you ill post it

Can't wait to see your photos! If you did find ALB, it's really important that you report it. Please get those photos up! Have you checked to make sure that it's not a pine sawyer beetle? They look very similar to ALB, but are native to Maine.

I am doing this mission and I am wondering if they bite

First of all, thank you for doing this mission. We need more eyes out there looking for this beetle. The beetles doesn't emerge from the trees until July (that is true in Massachusetts, which is the closest state to us with a population of ALB), so don't worry about looking for the beetle until then. We do have a native longhorned beetle that looks very similar to the ALB, which is out now, so I don't want you to get concerned if you see one of those. You CAN start looking for the signs of ALB - the egg-laying sites and the exit holes - primarily on MAPLE, BIRCH, and ELM.

Now, your question about whether they bite. They have strong mandibles that they use to clip their way out of the tree, and other things they want to get out of (like a plastic bag or container, if you happen to catch one). So if you want to handle one, I suggest you let it walk into your hand so it doesn't feel threatened, or pick it up like this picture shows... http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pi/images/pests/forest/ALB/albpics/adul...

It won't try to "bite" you (more like pinch you), if it doesn't feel threatened. I hope that helps.

Learn more about invasive forest pests, Wednesday, 6/6/2012

Check out this blog post for details: http://vitalsignsme.org/blog/bugs-trees