Clemson: Officials conducting survey in Charleston County after invasive beetle discovered

Charleston County News

Asian longhorns beetles are pests of certain hardwood trees, such as maples.
Image Credit: USDA – APHIS

CLEMSON, S.C. (WCBD) – State and federal officials are conducting surveys in Charleston County after an invasive beetle species was discovered for the first time in South Carolina.

The researchers are looking to determine the extent of the insect’s spread, according to Clemson University.

The Asian longhorned beetle was found by a homeowner in the Town of Hollywood, who then contact Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry to report it.

Officials with Clemson University said the inspector collected the beetle for identification and conducted a preliminary survey of the trees on the property. They said at least four maple trees appeared to have been infested.

Evidence of Asian longhorned beetle damage on a red maple tree.
Image Credit: USDA Agricultural Research Service

“We were very fortunate that the residents reported it when they did,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson Regulatory Services who oversees DPI and invasive species. “We think it is confined just to this local area, but we are just getting started with our surveys.”

Researchers say the Asian longhorned beetle is a wood-boring beetle that threatens a variety of hardwood trees like maple, elm, ash, sycamore, poplar and willow.

They said it is not a pest of the oak species that are more abundant in South Carolina.

Those living in Hollywood and in surrounding areas of Charleston are encouraged to allow state and federal access to their property to survey for the pest. They can also help by looking for the beetle and examining the trees on their property for damage beetles may be caused.

“The number one thing we need is access to property in the inspection area,” Long said. “Survey crews will be operating in the area for the next several weeks and possibly months as we determine the extent of the infestation. Landowners’ cooperation is vital to ensuring this pest doesn’t establish a foothold.

Larvae of the Asian longhorned beetle munch during the winter inside their hardwood tree hosts.
Image Credit: USDA – APHIS

“The second thing we need is for people to help us look,” he said. “Our inspectors are experienced in examining the tree for signs of the beetles’ presence, but the more eyes we have looking for the insect and the more obvious damage it causes, the more likely we are to find it.”

Anyone who believes they have found the beetle may report it online at invasives@clemson.edu or by calling DPI at 864-646-2140.

You can also file a report by calling the USDA’s Asian longhorned beetle hotline at 866-702-9938 or report online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

Be sure to take pictures of the insect if possible.

You can learn more about the insect and the research happening in Charleston County by clicking here.

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