Asian Longhorned Beetle and Other Invasive Species That Threaten NH and New England

Asian Longhorned Beetle.
When Asian Longhorned Beetle was first discovered in Brooklyn NY. I was one of the people sent to study this pest. Even for someone who is familiar with the damage done by Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and other invasive species, I was horrified by what I saw. I have been told that in its last outbreak in China the Asian Longhorned Beetle has been responsible for destroying the equivalent amount of trees as all the forested land on the east coast from Nova Scotia Canada to Florida, and it is native to China. No one knows why Asian Longhorned Beetle suddenly became such a problem in its native home. One theory is that a predator or predators were lost or greatly reduced due to a change in habitat. Others surmise that it is due to the planting of favorable species in an effort to produce wood from fast growing trees like Poplar. In my opinion the Asian Longhorned Beetle is the most destructive threat to our environment and economy that has ever hit the USA, and nothing we spend to stop this pest now is too much.

Hosts of this pest recognized by APHIS. (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) In the United States the beetle prefers maple species (Acer spp.), including boxelder, Norway, red, silver, and sugar maples. Other preferred hosts are birches, Ohio buckeye, elms, horsechestnut, and willows.
Occasional to rare hosts include ashes, European mountain ash, London planetree, mimosa, and poplars. And from personal observation Rose of Sharon is also a host .

What can we do?

Let us start with how invasive species move and escape quarantines.
The number one long distance movement from one area to another is that we give them a ride. Invading species travel on furniture, cars, boats, plants, firewood and anything else we move. For shorter distances animals, birds, wind, and the natural movement of a pest can be added to our helping hand.

Education is the number one defense. It amazes me that after twenty years or so of watching the spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid that there are still the amount of people who have never heard of this pest. We need to do a lot better job of spreading the word about Asian Longhorned Beetle then we did for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

This is not a political blog so I shall refrain from getting into that subject, after you forgive me this little rant. Back in the eighties we were penny wise and pound-foolish. I was working for the State of CT then as an inspector and dealt frequently with the federal inspectors responsible for keeping us safe from invading pests. I watched as the number of people who were assigned to inspecting incoming cargo dropped drastically. These people were not making that much, compared to the millions and maybe billions that these pests will cost now they are loose. Of course there is no guarantee that these inspectors would have caught Asian Longhorned Beetle, Sudden Oak Death, Emerald Ash Borer, and a host of others, before they escaped the ports to destroy our forests, city trees and landscapes, but they might have. I knew a lot of these inspectors and know that they worked hard protect us from invading species. I would rather pay an inspector’s salary then someone to cut down all the trees in a city like Worcester Ma, or Brooklyn NY.
One does not always save by not spending so lets not be penny wise and pound-foolish. Let your representatives know that you do not consider spending money preventing new invaders or controlling the ones that are here now, pork barrel spending. If the Asian Longhorn Beetle escapes into the Maple Syrup and timber growing areas of New England the money we could have spent on eradication will seem so trivial.

Other Invasive Species:

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is still on the move. Look for white cottony masses, like the head of Q-tip only smaller, at the base of the needles. Unlike the Asian Longhorned Beetle Hemlock Woolly Adelgid only attacks one tree species. Hope for controlling this pest with introduced predators is still a possibility. Eventually Hemlock Woolly Adelgid will be everywhere, but slowing the spread will possibly allow scientists time to find new predators or ways to make the ones already introduced more effective in time to save some of our Hemlock forests.

Emerald Ash Borer.
Emerald Ash Borer has been found in NH
Emerald Ash Borer only attacks Ash trees and White Fringe trees (a relative of Ash). Though not as horrific as Asian Longhorn Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer is still a serious pest. Unlike Asian Longhorned Beetle this pest has already escaped from quarantine measures. So though it only attacks one or two types of trees, at the moment it is considered a more important pest here in New Hampshire.

Lily Leaf Beetle.
Lily Leaf Beetle attacks Asian and native true Lilies, not Day Lilies. The Lily leaf beetle can be controlled in the landscape with pesticides, and there is encouraging research on introducing predators.

Sudden Oak Death.
A variety of the disease Phytophthora, this disease is has not been found yet in NE.
This disease can travel in any species of Rhododendron. Nurseries and wholesalers are aware of this problem and there is a quarantine, so the most likely introduction will be some unknowing home owner bringing small cuttings or plants to plant here from their home in CA.

Winter Moth.
This pest went under the radar for years. The winter moth is much like our native Loopers or inchworms and the damage looks the same. You will first become familiar with Winter Moth when you see moths flying around lights from November to early January, none of our native species fly in the winter. Winter moth has cycles of outbreaks and has the potential to cause a lot of damage in bad years. Winter Moth will not usually kill a tree in one defoliation unless it is otherwise stressed. 2009 has been a particularly bad year around Topsfield MA. I have not seen Winter Moth in NH yet, but I am sure it is here.

European Chafer.
This is another insect that has white grub larvae bound and determined to eat your lawn. The spread of this pest unfortunately seems inevitable. The European Chafer does have some native predators that help a bit. As with Japanese beetle it takes a certain number of grubs per square foot to have noticeable damaging effects on your turf. It is a waste of money and pesticides to treat your lawn if pest populations are not at damaging levels. Also the more a pesticide is used, the more likely that a pest will develop resistance or the chemical will become a problem to the environment and be banned or restricted. So please check and make sure you have a problem in need of pesticides before you treat.

Elongate Hemlock Scale and Circular Hemlock Scale.
These two scale are already in NE and NH. Both of these pests can Kill Hemlocks and have been a real problem in CT. Less noticeable then Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. If you see a general stippling and yellowing of needles, you should check underneath for this pest. There are predators that attack these scales, so be very careful of your choice of pesticides to control other landscape pests. I have seen huge outbreaks of scale where broad spectrum insecticides have been used. Do not move hemlocks without checking the proper authorities to make sure you are not in an area that has either of these pests. Unlike a lot of other scale species Merit (imidicloprid) does not kill this scale.

Sirex Woodwasp.
Has been found in Pennsylvania and Vermont

There are other species that have either established themselves beyond hope of control, failed at present to establish as a problem or have been or thought to have been eradicated. Some of these are the Brown tail moth, Japanese Cedar Longhorned beetle, Gypsy moth, Red pine scale, Red Wax Scale (Will not survive outside a greenhouse or possibly a home in our area), and many others.

The most important part of control of invasive species is many informed people. Even with something as bright, big and obvious as the Asian Longhorned beetle, every new infestation has been discovered by people who are not in the business of looking for them.

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