Introduced Pests Outreach Project
Woodborer update: Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, and Sirex woodwasp (March 21, 2007)

Woodborer update: Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, and Sirex woodwasp (March 21, 2007)

Wood boring insects have arrived to the United States though solid wood packing materials in shipments of foreign goods. Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), and Sirex woodwasp (Sirex noctilio) are three introduced woodboring insects currently affecting the United States.

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was introduced to North America in solid wood packing material from China. ALB was first reported by a resident of Brooklyn, NY in 1996. Since that time it has been found in Chicago (1998), New Jersey (2002), and Ontario, Canada (2003). Eradication projects are being conducted at these locations. Maps of the current ALB infestations can be found here:

The Asian longhorned beetle is a large (1-1 ½ inches long), shiny, black beetle with white splotches on its back. Its antennae have alternate black and white bands and are 1 to 2 ½ times the insect’s body length. Look for damage caused by ALB on hardwoods including maples, horse chestnut, willow, poplar, and elm. Exit holes created by the beetle are approximately ½ inch in diameter and have well-defined edges, resembling precisely drilled holes. There are no pheromone traps for ALB so we have 2 methods to look for them. 1) Go to areas where solid wood packing materials have entered Massachusetts and look for signs of ALB. 2) Investigate ALB sightings reported by the public. ALB was not detected in Massachusetts in 2006.

2007 ALB News: A new infestation has been discovered outside the current quarantine area in NY on Prall’s Island, an 80-acre, uninhabited island lying between Staten Island, N.Y., and northern New Jersey. In Canada, an additional 16 infested trees were found within the current quarantine area in Toronto in January.

The Sirex woodwasp (Sirex noctilio) is a native of Europe that attacks pine trees. The adult wasp has a steel-blue, cylindrical body and is ½ to 1 ½ inches in length. Males have a patch of orange on their abdomen. The female wasp injects a toxic mucus and fungus into the trees when she oviposits eggs. The mucus and fungus work together to kill the tree and provide a suitable environment for the developing wasp.

The first detection of the Sirex woodwasp in the United State was in 2004 in Oswego County, New York. As a result of surveys in 2005 and 2006 conducted by state and federal officials, the Sirex woodwasp has been detected in an additional 24 counties in New York and 2 counties in Pennsylvania. The Sirex woodwasp has also been reported in 6 locations in southern Ontario, Canada. In Massachusetts, the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources and MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation are cooperating with the USDA, APHIS and U.S. Forest Service in conducting Sirex surveys. An alpha/beta-pinene mixture is used to lure the insects into a trap. To date we have found no Sirex woodwasps in Massachusetts.

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was first discovered in Michigan in June 2002. Since its initial discovery in Michigan, emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Ontario, Canada. In order to limit the human-mediated spread of EAB, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are under a federal quarantine that prohibits movement of ash tree materials and hardwood firewood outside the quarantine area. In 2003 infestations in Maryland and Virginia resulted from nursery stock brought in from Michigan. Maryland has a state quarantine in place to prevent movement of materials that could harbor EAB. For a map of EAB locations see:

The emerald ash borer is a golden green beetle with darker, metallic emerald green wing covers and is about ½ inch in length. In the United State EAB has attacked white ash (Fraxinus americana), black ash (F.nigra), red ash (F. pennslyvanica), green ash (F. pennsylvanica var. subintegerrima) and several horticultural varieties of ash. Distinct S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark are formed from larval feeding. Adults emerge in June to early July leaving D-shaped exit holes 3-4mm in diameter in the bark.

For more information and photos of these introduced woodborers visit:
Asian Longhorned Beetle:
Emerald Ash Borer:
Sirex Wood wasp:

The pest alert is from the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project, a collaborative project between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program aimed at preventing the establishment of new pathogens and pests in Massachusetts. Visit the project website ( for more information on other emerging pests or to subscribe and unsubscribe for pest alerts.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.