Check your trees for Asian longhorned beetles

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Identifying the Asian longhorned beetle, photo courtesy: Michigan DNR

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents to spend 10 minutes to walk around your yard or neighborhood and inspect your trees.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, August Is Tree Check Month.

The Asian longhorned beetle is on Michigan’s invasive species watch list because it poses an immediate or potential threat to the state’s economy, environment or human health.

“August is Tree Check Month – the best time to spot the round, drill-like holes made by the Asian longhorned beetle,” said Jeff Zimmer, acting director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “These destructive pests have invaded areas of Ohio, New York and Massachusetts, causing the removal of over 180,000 trees. In order to prevent this in Michigan, we are asking everyone to look for and report signs of the Asian longhorned beetle.”

Checking your trees is important because early detection of the Asian longhorned beetle can save hundreds to thousands of trees. This beetle affects many common deciduous trees.

The Asian longhorned beetle is a shiny black beetle with white spots and white striped antennae. They are about the size of a dime to 1.5 inches.

On trees look for beetle exit holes in the trunk or branches as well as shallow chew marks in the bark, where the beetle lays its egg.

Trees will also have sawdust-like material at the base of the tree, or where branches meet the trunk.

A good preventative measure is to clean up dead branches on otherwise leafy trees.

A similar beetle native to Michigan is often mistaken for the Asian longhorned beetle.

The white spotted pine sawyer has a distinctive white spot below the base of its head, right between the tops of its wing covers. This and its brown or dull black color distinguish the sawyer from the Asian longhorned beetle.

If you see signs of Asian longhorned beetle damage, or the beetle itself, make a note of what was found and where as well as taking a photo if possible.

Try to capture the insect and place it in a container as well as freeze it. Freezing it will preserve it for easier identification.

Report findings as soon as possible to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by calling 866-702-9938 or completing an online form at AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

Reports also can be made to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939.

Most common look-alike bug, photo courtesy: Michigan DNR
August is Tree Check Month, according to the USDA

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