The Department of Agriculture is asking for the public's health to be on the lookout for the an invasive beetle that destroys trees.

It's called the Asian long-horned beetle and is a pesky little creature that has been harassing the eastern U.S. for decades.  They will take down branches off of your trees and weaken the limbs of the plant structures on your property.

Luckily, Maine hasn't had any reported infestations, but checking your trees and reporting is the key to keeping this pest from invading our state.

Video still from OutsmartProject via YouTube

The Department of Agriculture is specifically concerned about the infestation of hardwood trees, like Maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar.  There is no cure for the infestation but trees would need to be removed from your property to avoid further spreading of the infestation.

Josie Ryan, APHIS’ national operations manager for the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB) eradication program states your help is needed to eradicate the beetle from our area:

“Infested trees do not recover, nor do they regenerate. Foresters have observed ALB-related tree deaths in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio,” added Ryan. “It’s possible to find and eradicate this destructive pest, as we have done in Illinois and New Jersey, but we need the public’s help.”

The Department of Agriculture gives these clues to see if you have an infestation, in case you don't spot the beetle:

  • Round exit holes, about the size of a dime or smaller, in tree trunks and branches.
  • Shallow oval or round scars in the bark, where the adult beetle has chewed an egg site.
  • Sawdust-like material, called frass, on the ground around the tree or in the branches.
  • Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

What do you do if there are signs of this pest?  The Department of Agriculture says you should make a note of what was found and where and take a photo, if possible.

Also, try to capture the insect by placing it in a container and freezing it. Doing so will preserve it for easier identification.

Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.