USDA declares August as “Tree Check Month”, advises South Carolinians to check wood for Asian Longhorned Beetles

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The United States Department of Agriculture says that August is a crucial time of the year to check your trees and wood for the invasive Asian longhorned beetles (ALB).

ALB feeds on a variety of tree types in the United States to point of eventually killing them. The USDA says that the adult ALB is large, measuring 1 to 1.5 inches in length with long antennae, black in color, covered with white spots.

After about one year, ALB larvae fully develop into adults, and they funnel their way out of trees, leaving almost perfect round holes. They then feed on tree bark and leaves before mating and laying eggs.

ALBs can also emerge throughout different seasons of the year, being more prevalent during the summer and fall months.

The USDA advises the following signs of tree damage by ALBs:

  • Exit holes – In the warmer months the adult beetles chew their way out of the tree leaving, ¼ inch or larger, perfectly round exit holes.
  • Egg sites – Adult female beetles chew up to 90 oval depressions, called oviposition sites or egg sites, into the bark of the host tree. She lays a single egg beneath the bark at each site. These look like little wounds on the tree, and you can sometimes see the chew marks on the edges.
  • Frass – As the larvae tunnel and feed, it often pushes sawdust-like material or excrement, called frass out onto the ground around the tree or onto the tree branches.
  • Tunneling – After the egg hatches, the larva tunnels into the growing layers (phloem and cambium) of the tree and eventually into the woody tree tissue (xylem). If you have a fallen branch or are cutting wood, you may see this tunneling.
  • Weeping sap – Tree sap may be seen flowing from the wounds or egg sites.
  • Unseasonable yellowing leaves – Seeing leaves turning colors sooner than they should could indicate the tree is under stress.
  • Branches dropping or dying – If the tree has lost a branch or has a dead branch showing it could be a sign that something is wrong.

As reported by the USDA, 73 square miles of South Carolina are quarantined, including Charleston and Dorchester Counties.

Those that suspect ALBs or possible tree damage caused by the beetle are asked to call 1 (866) 702-9938 or fill out an online report on the USDA website.

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