- The Asian longhorned beetle attacks dozens of species from 15 plant families, especially maples, elms, and willows
- Forests dominated by vulnerable species make up more than 10% of all U.S. forests.
- The Asian longhorned beetle has been introduced to North America and Europe at least 16 times beginning in the early 1990s. The pathway of introduction has been wooden crates and pallets.
- Asian longhorned beetles continue to be detected in wooden packaging, despite regulations intended to prevent their presence.
Outbreaks of the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) outside its natural range have been found 35 time – eight in North America (U.S. 6; Canada 2); 26 in Europe (especially Austria, France, Germany, and Italy); one in Japan. Sixteen of these outbreaks have been detected in since 2012 (Eyre & Haack 2017). Ten of these outbreaks have been eradicated (Eyre & Haack 2017; APHIS press release October 2019).
In North America, Asian longhorned beetle outbreaks have been detected in the New York City metropolitan area (including northern New Jersey), Chicago, Toronto metropolitan area, central-eastern Massachusetts, and southern Ohio. Several of these outbreaks have been eradicated – Chicago in 2008; New Jersey in 2013; the original Toronto infestation (Eyre & Haack 2017); and New York City in 2019 (APHIS press release October 2019). Eradication of the others is under way.
All of the North American infestations were first found by homeowners (Haack et al. 2010) with the exception of the very small infestation in Boston, which was found by a groundskeeper. These detections occur years after the beetle became established.
These eradication efforts are expensive; USDA APHIS spent approximately $640 million on ALB eradication efforts between the first detection in New York in 1996 and 2017 (Eyre & Haack 2017 for expenditures through 2013; annual appropriation levels for more recent years — $30-40 million per year). Cooperators have spent additional funds (USDA APHIS 2015). As of September 2018, authorities had removed more than 180,000 trees in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois (USDA APHIS September 2018 press release).
Canadian authorities had cut more than 26,000 trees by 2010 (Haack et al. 2010). Between 2001 and 2010, the European countries have cut more than 1,700 trees and spent nearly 550,000 Euros (Haack et al. 2010).
As of 2016, the result is that 85% of the New York infestation has been eradicated; 34% of the Massachusetts infestation; but only 15% of Ohio infestation (USDA APHIS annual report for 2016). Both the Massachusetts and Ohio infestations are adjacent to vulnerable forest areas. Five of the European outbreaks and the Japanese outbreak are considered eradicated (Eyre & Haack 2017).
The risk of new introductions remains. Beetles in the family to which ALB belongs – the Cerambycidae – have been repeatedly detected in wood packaging moving internationally. Both U.S. and European data show rising numbers of Cerambycids detected in wood packaging in more recent years (Eyre & Haack 2017).
Upon detection of the second known North American outbreak in 1998, U.S. and Canadian authorities moved to prevent additional introductions. Their efforts resulted initially in tightened regulations governing wood packaging from China (USDA APHIS, 1998); then, in 2002, to adoption of an international standard requiring treatment of all wood packaging used in international trade (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures #15). Widespread adoption of the standard (the U.S. and Canada began full implementation in 2006) has resulted in a reduction of the incidence of live insects in wood packaging by an estimated 32 – 56%. Nevertheless, the estimated 0.1% infestation rate of wood packaging entering the U.S. still amounted to 13,000 shipments per year in which the wood packaging is probably infested with a “quarantine pest” entering the U.S. (Haack et al. 2014).
Over the period Fiscal Years 2010 through 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection has detected nearly 5,000 consignments in which cases the wood packaging harbored a pest in a regulated taxonomic group (Harriger 2016). An APHIS analysis of a subset of the Cerambycid and Buprestid insects associated with wood packaging found examples from 39 countries, including 212 shipments from Europe; 130 shipments from Asia; and 341shipments from the Americas – almost exclusively Mexico. Included were six ALB in wood packaging from China (Nadel, H. 2016. Study on ISPM 15 Material – Report on Pest Interceptions and Infested Wood (2012 – 2016) at the NAPPO Workshop: ISPM Implementation in the Americas).
Europe has had a similar experience. Interception records included in EUROPHYT show 306 Cerambycidae interceptions on wood packaging over the period 1998 – 2013. The number of interceptions recorded in 2012 and 2013 are double those of all previous years. Each year, the majority are on wood packaging from China (over the full period, 84% of the interceptions were in association with wood packaging from China) (Eyre and Haack 2017).
Austria inspected 451 consignments of stone imports received over the year April 2013 – April 2014. Forty-four consignments (9.8%) were found to be out of compliance with ISPM#15. Live Cerambycidae were found in 38 consignments (8%), including ALB.
The interception records and frequency of ALB establishment has caused numerous authorities to conclude that current phytosanitary programs are not providing sufficient protection. For example, Eyre & Haack (2017) conclude that “the methods and the resources available to plant protection services are not adequate to prevent the international movement of cerambycids on wood packaging and plants for planting.”
The reason for the expensive eradication efforts is the expectation that the Asian longhorned beetle would cause considerable damage if allowed to spread. As noted, the beetle attacks dozens of species from 15 plant families (Haack et al. 2010). In North America, the beetle attacks most commonly maples (Acer), elms (Ulmus) and willows (Salix) (Haack et al. 2010).Northern hardwood forests reaching from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes and beyond are made up of vulnerable species (see map) – approximately 48 million acres in the United States plus the majority of Canada’s hardwood forests (USDA APHIS & Forest Service, 2000).
Forest types dominated by ALB hosts (maple-beech-birch and elm-ash-cottonwood) make up 45% of the forests in the 20-state region reaching from Maine to Minnesota and Maryland to Missouri. At the national level, these forests represent 10% of all U.S. forests. Additional maples, elms, willows, sycamores and poplars grow in the South and West. Thus, the Asian longhorned beetle threatens more than 10% of all U.S. forests.
USFS scientists and managers developed a conservation priority-setting framework for forest tree species at risk from pest & pathogens and other threats. The Project CAPTURE (Conservation Assessment and Prioritization of Forest Trees Under Risk of Extirpation) uses FIA data and expert opinion to group tree species under threat by non-native pests into vulnerability classes and specify appropriate management and conservation strategies. The scientists prioritized 419 tree species native to the North American continent. The analysis identified 15 taxonomic groups requiring the most immediate conservation intervention because of the tree species’ exposure to an extrinsic threat, their sensitivity to the threat, and their ability to adapt to it. Each of these 15 most vulnerable species, and several additional species, should be the focus of both a comprehensive gene conservation program and a genetic resistance screening and development effort. Asian longhorned beetle is not known to be a threat to any of these 15 most vulnerable species.
Economic losses would be greatest to the urban forest. A study of seven cities in the northeast and north central regions (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Jersey City, New York City, Philadelphia, and Syracuse) found that half of their trees are vulnerable to Asian longhorned beetle. The estimated cost to remove and replace the trees killed (called compensatory value) would vary from $72 million in Jersey City to $2.2 billion in New York City. Nationwide, the Asian longhorned beetle could kill a third of urban trees, which have a compensatory value of $669 billion (Nowak et al., 2001). In rural areas, the Asian longhorned beetle would damage a range of commercial interests. One obvious impact would be on timber production. Discounted monetary losses for timber resources around Chicago and New York would range from $1 to $10 million 30 years after introduction (USDA APHIS & Forest Service, 2000). Other industries likely to be affected include maple syrup production, nursery production, and “leaf peeper” tourism. In 2010, maple syrup production was valued at nearly $67 million (USDA APHIS 2015). In Vermont alone, the multiplier effect of the maple sugar industry to related equipment, manufacturing, packaging, and retail sectors equals $105 million annually and represents 4,000 seasonal jobs (USDA National Ag. Statistics Service, 2009; Andrienne Wojciechowski , pers. comm. December 2008). Autumn tourists spent close to $2 billion in just two states (Vermont and Maine) (USDA APHIS 2015).
Scientists continue to explore other technologies for detection, monitoring, and control.
For more information on this pest, please visit:
- USDA APHIS Plant Health Asian Longhorned Beetle Program Page
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency Asian Longhorned Beetle Program Page
- US Forest Service Asian longhorned beetle reference page
- USDA National Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program, on Twitter and Facebook
Eyre, D. and R.A. Haack. 2017. Invasive Cerambycid Pests and Biosecurity Measures. In Wang, Q. Ed. 2017. Cerambycidae of the world: biology and pest management. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press
Haack, R.A., F. Herard, J. Sun, J.J. Turgeon. 2010. Managing Invasive Populations of Asian Longhorned Beetle and Citrus Longhorned Beetle: A Worldwide Perspective. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2010. 55: 521-46
Haack, R.A., K.O. Britton, E.G. Brockerhoff, J.F. Cavey, L.J. Garrett. 2014. Effectiveness of the International Phytosanitary Standard ISPM No. 15 on Reducing Wood Borer Infestation Rates in Wood Packaging Material Entering the United States. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96611. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096611
Harriger, K. 2016. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Presentation to the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases. November, 2016.
Nowak, D. J., J. E. Pasek, R. A. Sequeira, D. E. Crane, V. C. Mastro. 2001. Potential Effect of Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cermabycidae) on Urban Trees in the United States. Journal of Economic Entomology (94): 116-122.
Potter, K.M., Escanferla, M.E., Jetton, R.M., Man, G., Crane, B.S., Prioritizing the conservation needs of US tree spp: Evaluating vulnerability to forest insect and disease threats, Global Ecology and Conservation (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/
United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 1998. Proposed Interim Rule on Solid Wood Packing Material from China. Environmental Assessment. September 1998.
United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Forest Service 2000. Pest Risk Assessment for Importation of Solid Wood Packing Materials into the United States. USDA APHIS and Forest Service. August 2000.
United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2015. Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Insepection Service. Plant Protection and Quarantine. 2017. Helping U.S. Agriculture Thrive—Across the Country and Around the World. Annual Report 2016
United States Department of Agriculture, National Ag. Statistics Service. 2009. Crop Values 2007 Summary.
United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Insepection Service. Plant Protection and Quarantine. Press Release 2018. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2018/alb-eradication
United States Department of Agriculture. Animal and Plant Health Insepection Service. Plant Protection and Quarantine. Press Release 2019. October 10, 2019.