In every case of Asian longhorned beetles being discovered in North America, it was an everyday citizen who made the find.
Tree killing insects and diseases run the gamut from huge spotted beetles to microscopic fungi. But subtlety and unfamiliarity does not stop an inquisitive person from wondering what is killing the tree.
In the case of Donna Massie, the woman who first noticed Asian longhorned beetles in her Worcester, MA backyard, her simple observation that this beetle was different proved to be extremely important.
Donna has started a website, and I think it is great to see her energy and perspective on this topic. I think the most important sentence on her site is this;
The message is if you've never seen it before it may not belong in the United States.
And she's right. Seeing some bug or tree damage that you think you've never seen before is a powerful tool. Donna took the next step and reported it, which is of course as crucial as seeing it in the first place.