Asian Longhorned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer have potential to cause extensive tree damage
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking the public – and in particular, those in regular contact with trees – to report sightings of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) – invasive insects that have the potential to cause extensive damage to area trees. Any insects resembling the ALB or EAB (shown below) should also be reported. To date, there have been no confirmed sightings of these beetles in Rhode Island; however, they have been found in nearby Worcester, Massachusetts.
The ALB has a large, glossy black body, measuring approximately one inch long, with irregular white spots. It also has long black and white antennae. ALB first came to the United States in wooden shipping crates from Asia nearly 20 years ago. The EAB is a small insect, measuring about a half-inch long, and metallic green in color. It was first detected in Michigan in 2002 and has been found in approximately 26 states since, including Massachusetts and Connecticut.
ALB affects hardwood shade trees such as maple, ash, birch, willow and elm by boring into the core of the tree and eventually killing it. Adult beetles emerge from late spring to early fall, feeding on tree bark and tender twigs and chewing their way out of the tree. Signs of an ALB infestation include round, dime-sized holes in the bark; oozing sap; dead or dying tree limbs; and/or sawdust-like material made of tree shavings and insect waste (known as “frass”) around the tree.
The EAB affects ash trees and typically emerges between June and August. DEM is currently monitoring for EAB and has set numerous traps around the state. Signs of an EAB infestation include small, d-shaped holes in the bark and/or squiggly lines on the underside of the tree bark.
If ALB or EAB is spotted or related tree damage is observed, the public is asked to capture the insect by sliding a piece of cardboard underneath it, if possible, and placing it in a jar or other container. The insects do not bite. Report the finding to DEM immediately by calling 401.222.2781 or by completing the online reporting form.
Tree-eating, non-native insects can be inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products. The public is reminded to purchase firewood from local sources and not transport firewood from out of state. For more information on invasive insects and tips to help control them, visit www.dem.ri.gov