Emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle

In short, an invasive species is one that is not native to an ecosystem and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm to that ecosystem or to public health. Once established, invasive species may impact biodiversity by out-competing native species for limited resources such as food and habitat, by altering and damaging existing habitat, by displacing native species, or by preying directly upon native species.

Both the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle are native to Asia. And both are wood-boring insects whose worm-like larvae develop beneath the bark or within the wood of live trees, leaving larval tunnels under the bark and adult emergence holes in the bark as evidence of their presence. One to two years of infestation can kill a healthy tree.

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire)

The adult Emerald Ash Borer has metallic green wing covers and a coppery-colored abdomen. EAB are small, roughly a half-inch-long and one-eighth inch wide. Since they were initially discovered near Detroit and across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 2002, infestations of EAB have destroyed almost 100 million trees in more than 19 states. A worst-case scenario, in which all species of ash are wiped out across North America, remains a distinct possibility. Infestations are known to exist in Albany, Cattaraugus, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orange, Steuben, Tioga and Ulster counties.

Currently, a quarantine order is in effect in all or part of 42 New York counties restricting the movement of:

-Ash nursery stock

-Any part of ash trees (bark, stumps, limbs, branches and roots)

-Firewood from any species (both soft and hard species – this is in effect state-wide) wood chips and bark mulch from any tree species, larger than one inch in two dimensions

-Living emerald ash borers in any stage of development any article, product or means of conveyance determined by USDA or New York state to present a risk of spreading the EAB infestation and any material comingled with a regulated article and therefore indistinguishable from the regulated article.

Symptoms of emerald ash borer infestation include:

-Dieback of the upper and outer crown

-Epicormic sprouting at the base and/or on the main stem of the tree

-Vertical splits in the bark and

woodpeckers feeding

It is important to note that symptoms do not confirm the presence of Emerald ash borer.

Signs of EAB DO confirm the presence of EAB. Signs of emerald ash borer infestations include:

-D-shaped emergence holes

-S-shaped larval galleries

the insect itself; larvae and/or adults

Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

The Asian longhorned beetle attacks many species of deciduous (hardwood) trees; among them are maple, ash, birch, poplar, elm, horse chestnut, and willow. The insect is already responsible for the loss of more than 80,000 trees in the United States. It should be considered a serious threat to the maple syrup, wood products, nursery, and tourism industries.

ALB was first detected in North America on Norway, silver and sugar maples and horse chestnut trees in Brooklyn in 1996. It was initially identified by E. Richard Hoebeke of Cornell University and subsequently found on Manhattan and Staten Island, as well as in Amityville and Islip, on Long Island. ALB was also discovered in Chicago in 1998, in Jersey City, N.J., in 2002, in Carteret, N.J., in 2004, in Worcester, MA, in 2008, in Boston, Mass., in 2010, and in Tate Township, Ohio, in 2011.

The insect was declared eradicated from the Chicago area and from Hudson County (Jersey City), N.J. in 2008, from Islip in 2011, and from Manhattan and Staten Island, earlier this year. Nonetheless, a quarantine area in New York still remains in effect for 58 square miles of Queens, 28 square miles of Brooklyn and 23 square miles of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

In a recent statement made by state Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine, he said “The stakes are high, but make no mistake. We are winning the fight against ALB in New York.”

In March of this year, New Jersey State officials acknowledged that eradication efforts there had been successful in New Jersey, too. ALB has never been spotted in the Bronx or in New York state, north of the city.

Early detection of infestations and rapid tree removal are crucial to the successful eradication of ALB. Currently, the only effective means of control is to remove infested trees, as well as trees within the area of infestation that might host the beetle, and chip or burn them. For example, according to Paul J. Kurtz, the entomologist who led the successful eradication effort in the Garden State, only 11 infested trees were discovered in Linden, N.J., but 14,894 trees, including many saplings, were removed.

Research at Cornell University’s Department of Entomology continues on developing new approaches for biological controls for ALB. The methodology being looked at is similar to that used to control a closely related beetle orchard pest in Japan and involves the use of non-woven fiber bands permeated with a long-lasting insect pathogenic fungus placed around host trees. It is believed that adult beetles that come into contact with the fungal spores transfer the infection when mating. Infected females are able to lay only very few eggs, before dying.

Asian Longhorned Beetles may be confused with another large beetle, the white-spotted pine sawyer, a North American native, which does not attack healthy trees.

Firewood movement ban

In order to slow the spread of damaging forest pests, a state-wide ban on firewood movement is in effect in New York State. Movement of firewood over distances greater than 50 miles is prohibited, even in small quantities. Homeowners and campers should purchase and burn firewood harvested from forests within 50 miles of their home or camp.

More information about EAB and ALB is available from your County Cornell Cooperative Extension office. Information about the ban on firewood movement can be found at