Batavia, Ohio. Of the 2,942 trees surveyed in Tate Township so far, 87 trees have suspected damage from the destructive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). “This beetle attacks and kills trees and has no natural enemies,” said United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ALB Program National Director Christine Markham. Surveyors from the USDA, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are using binoculars, and in some cases, climbing trees to determine the extent of the infestation locally. “Because they are looking for dime-sized exit holes on the trees, it is a long and time consuming process,” she said.
In Clermont County to review the ALB situation, Markham stressed the importance of community members looking for signs of the beetle. “Unfortunately, the beetle spends most of its life burrowing and eating the inside of the tree,” she said. “There is only one way to stop the ALB and that is to cut down and put it through a wood chipper. If the ALB has attacked a tree, it will not stop until it kills the tree. If we don’t find the beetle and address the problem, the ALB will move on to other trees.” Homeowners are encouraged to call the ODA at 1-855-252-6450 to report any possible sightings.
Ohio is the fifth state to detect the destructive ALB; it was discovered recently in the Bethel area. According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the beetle is an invasive insect that kills a variety of species of hardwood trees, maple being one of its preferred hosts. As a result of the discovery of the ALB, the state of Ohio is restricting the movement of ALB host material and all hardwood firewood out of Tate Township and East Fork State Park. That means that it is illegal to move regulated logs, firewood, stumps, roots, or branches, and any life stage of the beetle, out of those two areas.
Markham said that surveyors have to determine the size of the problem, before the agency can lay-out a response plan. “The ALB poses a very serious problem, but it is one we have been able to control, she said. “The most important thing is to find the impacted trees, before the ALB can destroy even more.”
For more information about the Asian longhorn beetle visit the website www.BeetleBusters.info.
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