Clermont County, Ohio discovered they had an Asian longhorn beetle infestation last summer. The beetle tunnels into trees in the larval stage and kills by cutting off the water and nutrient supply to the trees. The beetles are especially attracted to maple trees, but also attack 12 other types of trees, including willows, elms, and poplars, which means they are a serious threat to the Ohio forests and timber industry. The beetles are believed to have arrived in cargo shipments from Asia containing wooden materials.
To reduce the spread of the beetle, agriculture officials are requiring trucks be covered with tarp while hauling infested trees. The infested trees are being chipped down to a size where the beetles won’t survive. Because thousands of infested trees were removed last year, when the beetles emerge this spring the hope is that the population will be drastically reduced.
The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released a plan earlier this month that would cut down every beetle-infested tree as well as every other healthy tree they could attack within a half-mile radius of the infected tree. They say this is the most effective eradication method. Two other options in the plan would treat healthy trees with a protective pesticide.
The beetles are difficult to detect – from the ground, well-trained individuals only spot about 30% of lightly infested trees, while trained climbers detect about 70%. State and federal funding is available to eradicate the beetle and for reforestation programs.