The Asian Longhorned Beetle is an exotic, wood-boring insect that attacks a variety of native hardwood species, including maple, birch, elm, poplar, ash and willow. Upon hatching, the larvae tunnel through the heartwood of a host tree until fully grown. They then burrow out of the trunk as adult beetles. This process weakens the wood, making it prone to breakage, and could eventually kill the host tree. Over a third of our trees are susceptible to Asian longhorned beetle, so this insect will have a major impact if it becomes established in Vermont.
Where is the pest?
A native of East Asia, Asian longhorned beetle was first discovered in the U.S. in New York City in 1996, and has also been found in Chicago, Toronto and New Jersey. In August, 2008, an infestation was found in Worcester, MA, 45 miles from VT. The area under quarantine because of the infestation continues to expand as additional surveys are completed. A small group of infested trees was detected in Boston in 2010, and in 2011, an infestation was found in southwestern Ohio.
What’s being done about it?
A variety of tactics are being employed to eradicate Asian longhorned beetle infestations. Quarantines prohibit movement of host material (including firewood or nursery stock) outside of regulated areas. Following annual surveys, all infested trees are removed. In addition, other susceptible trees nearby may be removed or treated with chemicals.
These strategies have already been declared successful in Chicago, Boston, New Jersey, and parts of New York, where the beetle hasn’t been seen for years. In the infested towns in Massachusetts over 30,000 trees have been removed. More information on how to deal with this insect can be found at the management link below.
What are we doing in Vermont?
The Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation is collaborating with the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, the University of Vermont, USDA APHIS and the U.S. Forest Service to address the threat Asian longhorned beetle. Our programs have benefitted from the assistance of VT Forest Pest First Detectors, and numerous community and industry groups.
Surveys – We have conducted surveys of 133 federal, state and private campgrounds and in high-risk towns. Beetle detection traps have been deployed in high risk areas. Forestry staff is on constant alert for symptoms and signs of Asian longhorned beetle attack. We follow up on any inquiries about potential sightings or infestations.
Public Outreach – We are continuing public awareness efforts through presentations and press releases, with special focus on discouraging the movement of firewood and other wood products that may be routes of entry. We have contacted over 200 residents of infested areas in Massachusetts with property in Vermont to ensure that they have not brought potentially infested material to the state.
Action Plan – An action plan has been developed to improve our ability to respond in the event that the Asian longhorned beetle is discovered in Vermont.
Do not move firewood. Buy firewood from the area you're visiting. Ask your supplier where their wood comes from. The Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont State Parks restrict the use of non-local firewood.
When purchasing trees from other states, check that they have been certified free of Asian longhorned beetle.
Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of Asian longhorned beetle presence or attack, and keep your eyes open for potential infestations. Check backyard trees, street trees, and all hardwoods except oak. Search for exit holes, egg deposit sites, piles of frass at the base of infested trees and in branch crotches, and sap leaking from wounds in the trees.
This insect will have a major impact if it spreads into Vermont. The sooner we find new infestations, the better our chances of slowing its spread to other trees nearby or to other areas, and of eradicating it where it has been detected.
If you suspect this pest occurs in your area or for more information, contact the Forest Biology Lab at 802-879-5687, or
Windsor & Windham Counties
Springfield (802) 885-8845
Bennington & Rutland Counties
Rutland (802) 786-0060
Addison, Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties
Essex Junction (802) 879-6565
Lamoille, Orange & Washington Counties
Barre (802) 476-0170
Caledonia, Orleans & Essex Counties
St. Johnsbury (802) 751-0110
VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, May, 2014.