The Asian Longhorned Beetle And The Emerald Ash Borer
In the past couple of decades, an unprecedented threat to North America’s trees and forests has emerged in the form of two invasive species of beetles, the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer. Both beetles are major pests of widespread forest and neighborhood trees, and if left unchecked, have the potential to completely change the character of our forests. Although not as widely known as some higher-profile environmental issues, invasive species like the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer are nevertheless one of the greatest problems facing the environment today, and is a problem that is likely to grow still greater in the future.
The Asian Longhorned Beetle was the first to arrive in North America. Native to eastern Asia, it is an attractive beetle up to one and a half inches long, glossy black with white spots and speckles, and with long antennae banded white and black (Childs et al.). Unusually for a forest pest, it attacks a wide variety of healthy hardwood trees, including maple, birch, elm, and poplar (Alsop). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, female beetles lay eggs into small pits in the bark of a targeted tree, from which grub-like larvae hatch and burrow into the tree’s cambium, the living layer just under the bark which transports nutrients throughout the tree. As autumn passes into winter, the larvae bore their way deeper into the wood, leaving behind