It’s a black beetle about 1.5 inches long with white spots and long antennae, and it bores holes into hardwood trees to lay its eggs. It’s called the Asian long-horned beetle and it is a very dangerous bug, according to Rhonda Santos, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“The Asian long-horned beetle is a killer of trees,” Santos said. “It attacks 13 different types of trees and all the subspecies, so when you think about maples, it’s silver maples, it’s red maples, it’s sugar maples. It goes after a wide variety of our nation’s hardwood trees, and it will kill the tree.”
The beetle has been found in Illinois and Ohio, but so far has not invaded Wisconsin. It came to the U.S. from China in wooden crates used to carry merchandise. Because it is not native to our country, it has no natural enemies to keep it in check.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture is trying to keep the pest out of the state by watching for telltale signs on hardwood trees. The beetles bore round holes about three-eighths of an inch in diameter into trunks and branches, creating long tunnels to lay their eggs. This eventually weakens and kills the tree.
The USDA has designated August as “Tree Check Month,” and Santos said everyone can help.