Link to DEM Home Page Link to State of RI web site RIDEM graphical banner, showing land and water scene
Navigation button, HomeNavigation button, ProgramsNavigation button, TopicsNavigation button, MapsNavigation button, PublicationsNavigation button, NewsNavigation button, EventsNavigation button, SearchNavigation button, HelpNavigation button, Contact
Home > News > News Item


 
News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: August 9, 2011
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

DEM ASKS PUBLIC TO NOTIFY DEPARTMENT IF THEY SUSPECT PRESENCE OF INVASIVE ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management is coordinating a public outreach program for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB). ALB is an invasive insect that came to the United States in wooden shipping crates from China and Korea about 15 years ago. It affects hardwood shade trees such as maple, ash, birch, willow and elm by boring into the core of the tree and eventually killing it. This beetle has the potential of wiping out thousands of the state's trees if it goes undetected.

Rhode Island residents are encouraged to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of ALB. The Department is asking the public, in addition to nurserymen, commercial pesticide applicators, arborists and other tree health specialists, to notify DEM if they observe any insects resembling the ALB or see symptoms or damage related to this beetle in Rhode Island.

The beetle is large, ranging from 0.75 - 1.25 inches in length with very long black and white antennae. The body is glossy black with irregular white spots. The distinctive antennae that give the beetle its common name are as long as the body itself in females, and almost twice the body length in males. Adult ALB emerge from hardwood trees such as Maple, ash, birch, willow and elm trees beginning in mid-July through September and feed on tree bark and tender twigs. This insect is not known to attack oak trees or conifers such as Pine and Spruce trees. The adult females will begin laying eggs later on in October and will survive until a heavy frost. During its larval stage, the ALB bores deep in the tree's heartwood, where it feeds on the tree's nutrients. This tunneling damages and eventually kills the tree. The adult ALB then chews its way out of the tree the next summer, leaving perfectly round exit holes that are approximately 1 cm (3/8") in diameter.

Signs of ALB infestation include perfectly round, 3/8-inch exit holes; frass, a sawdust-like material comprised of tree shaving and insect waste; and oozing sap. Dead and dying tree limbs or branches and yellowing leaves in areas where there has been no drought may also be a sign of ALB. Research indicates this beetle can survive and reproduce in most sections of the country where suitable host trees exist.

Campers, Others Asked to Use Only Local Firewood

ALB typically does not spread quickly on its own, but it can easily be inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products. All Rhode Island residents are reminded to purchase firewood from local sources and not transport firewood from out of state. Firewood brought into Rhode Island from infested areas can easily bring along unwanted hitch hikers like ALB and other harmful forest pests.

Public Can Report Suspect ALB Sightings Online on DEM Website

DEM has an online reporting form on its website for the public to use to report sightings of the ALB or Emerald Ash Borer. Developed by RI.gov, this reporting mechanism asks for the user's valid email address and then sends an email with a link to the reporting form. The user then submits their contact information and a description of the pest. RI.gov will send the collected information to DEM on a regular basis to assist with the ongoing ALB detection program. The form is available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on "Report Asian Longhorned Beetle" under Timely Topics on the homepage.

In addition to the online reporting mechanism, residents may also call a USDA APHIS manned toll-free ALB hotline at 866-702-9938 to report any possible sightings of ALB. For further information, contact Liz Lopes-Duguay of DEM at 222-2781 x4510 or 640-4509 or via email at liz.lopesduguay@dem.ri.gov. Information on ALB is also available on the DEM website at www.dem.ri.gov.

-30-


For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer