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August is Tree Check Month!

August is Tree Check Month, a great time of year to check the trees in your neighborhood for signs of damage from invasive insects. Here is a press release from USDA that was featured in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette about Tree Check Month and how to look for Asian Longhorned Beetle:

“August is the height of summer, when insects proliferate, and it is also the best time to spot the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) as it starts to emerge from trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking the public to take five minutes to step outside and report any signs of this invasive pest.

Checking trees for the beetle will help residents protect their own trees and better direct USDA’s efforts to eradicate this beetle from the United States.

The Asian longhorned beetle was first detected in Massachusetts in August 2008 and, since then, has resulted in the loss of over 36,000 trees. Residents of Worcester County should be especially on guard.

“It’s important to look for signs of the beetle now, because it’s slow to spread during the early stages of an infestation,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ national operations manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “With the public’s help, we can target new areas where it has spread and provide a better chance of quickly containing it.”

The Asian longhorned beetle feeds on a variety of popular hardwood trees, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar. Nationwide, it has already led to the loss of more than 180,000 trees.

“Homeowners need to know that infested trees do not recover and will eventually die, becoming safety hazards,” warned Ryan. “USDA removes infested trees as soon as possible because they can drop branches and even fall, especially during storms, and this keeps the pest from spreading to nearby healthy trees.”

The Asian longhorned beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

• Antennae that are longer than the insect’s body with black and white bands;

• A shiny, jet-black body with white spots, about 1-to 1-½-inches long; and

• Six legs and feet, possibly bluish-colored.

Signs of infestation include:

• Round exit holes in tree trunks and branches about the size of a dime or smaller;

• Shallow oval or round scars in the bark where the adult beetle chewed an egg site;

• Sawdust-like material called frass, laying on the ground around the tree or in the branches; and

• Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

After seeing signs of the beetle:

• Make note of what was found and where. Take a photo, if possible;

• Try to capture the insect, place it in a container and freeze it. This will preserve it for easier identification; and

• Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at

It is possible to eliminate this pest and USDA has been successfully doing so in several areas.

For information about the Asian longhorned beetle, visit”

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