In late May 2020, an observant resident of Hollywood, SC noticed and reported an unusual black and white spotted beetle near a porch light at their home. That beetle unfortunately turned out to be one of many Asian longhorned beetles infesting trees in the area, and USDA APHIS is now working with the Clemson Department of Plant Industry and Clemson Extension to understand the geographic scope of the infestation, as well as how the beetle is spreading in this coastal South Carolina habitat.
There are two important things that anyone in the southeastern US can do to help. Report any possible sightings of this beetle, and don’t move any wood or tree products (firewood, chips, branches, yard waste) around the greater Charleston area.
Take a look at the trees around you, and report any insects you might find that look like this beetle- or any potential holes or other damage that might be from the Asian longhorned beetle. The beetles themselves are about 1” to 1.5” long, have a very long black and white striped antenna, and a black glossy body with obvious white spots. Sometimes they look like they have blue-ish feet. Beetles make several different types of damage on trees, including round, ¼” to 3/8” holes and small chewed “divots” on the outside of the tree. Bark may split in some places and the tree may ooze fluid around these areas. Branches will often fall from the tree, as feeding from the larvae weakens the structural integrity of the tree. So far, in this area, damage has been most commonly seen on red maples. More information on the ALB can be found on the Asian longhorned beetle Clemson Extension fact sheet. If you think you see an ALB, please capture the insect or take a photo and contact the Clemson Department of Plant Industry (email@example.com or by calling 864-646-2140) or your local Clemson Extension office, which can be found here: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/co/index.html. If you think you have found an ALB outside of South Carolina, please visit the AsianLonghornedBeetle.com Report It form.
Firewood, yard waste, and other wood and tree products could potentially contain beetles. Don’t take firewood from your backyard along with you when you go camping, fishing, or any activity where you might use firewood. Instead, buy local bundled firewood at or near your destination, or gather firewood on site when you get there (if that is permitted). Take care to observe any local restrictions about yard waste in the area near the newly discovered Asian longhorned beetle infested area in and around Hollywood SC (southwest of Charleston).
Co-authored by David Coyle, Clemson University, and Leigh Greenwood, The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy’s Don’t Move Firewood (DMF) educational campaign is the most widely recognized firewood outreach campaign in the USA and Canada. The Nature Conservancy conducts its own nationwide campaign of forest pest and firewood outreach while supporting hundreds of partnering entities in conducting their own efforts. To gain a better understanding of the perception and sentiment of the various methods DMF employs, two online surveys and a series of eleven one-on-one interviews were conducted with a wide variety of partners from June 2019 through March 2020.
The survey and interviews were structured to address; what current (within the past five years) campaign aspects and efforts are viewed positively by stakeholders, where do any negative feelings about the current campaign stem from, and what actions or changes are desired within two future time ranges (one to two years, and within five years).
The most common responses for the positive aspects of the current campaign were; the reliable website, engaging and turnkey education materials, and the clear message at the heart of the campaign.
The most common responses for what is “not liked” and “not useful” were; insufficient circulation of materials, inadequate awareness of existence of campaign by partners, and excessive variety of choices for outreach.
Most recommendations for the immediate (one or two years) were themed on; updating outreach materials with greater intention in partner distribution, updating materials to be pest- specific and include economic impact language, new media production, and better distribution of existing products to new and existing partners. Long-term project suggestions that may become part of the next five years of DMF work include; greater regional engagement in targeted areas and potentially developing an educational
The Nature Conservancy manages the DMF campaign as part of their larger goal to protect the forests of North America from the damaging effects of invasive insects and diseases. This goal would not be possible without the continued financial support of USDA APHIS and the US Forest Service to the Forest Health Program of The Nature Conservancy.
BEWARE OF UNWANTED GARDEN AND TREE PESTS DURING SPRING CLEANUP
Tree-killing insects and diseases can be spread when disposing of yard waste
February 20, 2020 – On the first day of spring, the snow is finally gone (if you’re lucky) and it is time to survey the damage and debris winter has left behind in our yards. Homeowners and gardeners nationwide begin to consider the annual task of cleaning up their yards and gardens to prepare for the growing season. This past winter has brought ample snow, rain and wind in most parts of the nation, knocking down branches and even entire trees. Gardeners, landscapers, and anyone working outside this spring should be aware that tree branches, firewood, and cleared brush can harbor invasive insects and diseases, making proper use or disposal critical to preventing the spread of tree-killing pests. Many kinds of pests can emerge as the weather warms, and you don’t want to accidentally carry them to a new home.
“Even experts can’t always detect a couple of pin-head size insect eggs or a few microscopic fungus spores hidden in wood; however, these tiny threats are enough to destroy an entire forest,” said Leigh Greenwood, Don’t Move Firewood campaign manager, The Nature Conservancy. “Disposing of tree debris, brush, and other yard waste either on site or through municipal composting is the best way that homeowners can prevent spreading tree-killing pests as they clean up their yards and gardens this spring.”
Tips for Spring Cleanup:
If you don’t want to keep your firewood until next winter, don’t be tempted to take it with you when camping this spring or summer. Instead, you can give it to your next-door neighbor, burn or chip it on site, or dispose of it locally (50 miles is too far, 10 miles or less is best).
Hire a tree service or rent a tree chipper to shred fallen trees and branches and brush into mulch for your own garden beds and landscaping projects.
If you are pruning trees and shrubs, remember to dispose of wood debris locally.
Many areas now offer a yard waste recycling program. Contact your municipal solid waste management department for information specific to your area.
Many municipalities also offer a fall and spring “cleanup day” where they will collect seasonal waste. Check if your town participates in a cleanup day!
If a yard waste recycling or composting program is not available, and you cannot keep it on site, brush logs, and branches, should be disposed of in a local landfill.
Take care to respect all state and local regulations on the movement of firewood and other unprocessed wood – some areas are subject to serious fines for violations. For more information visit our Don’t Move Firewood Regulations Map.
During your spring cleanup, if you notice an insect or tree disease you don’t recognize, take a photo or obtain a specimen of it- then look up how to report it on our Report a Pest page.
As the weather warms but the trees are still bare, take inventory of your trees and their health. Are branches shriveled up? Is that damage from a winter storm or perhaps an unwelcome pest? Look for unusual holes, late or damaged leaf buds, or a pattern of dead tips on otherwise healthy branches. Do not hesitate to report anything that looks unusual!
All of these tips and tricks can be used during fall cleanup as well!