[NAFEX] FW: Asian Longhorned Beetles' Roaming Habits

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Thu Jun 26 00:37:29 EDT 2003

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 10:14:02 -0400
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Asian Longhorned Beetles' Roaming Habits

Charting Asian Longhorned Beetles' Roaming Habits


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Erin Kendrick-Peabody, (301) 504-1624, ekpeabody at ars.usda.gov
June 25, 2003

If the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) continues its advance, this invasive
pest may potentially alter the makeup of North American hardwood forests.
Losses to lumber, maple syrup and tourism industries--dependent on healthy
hardwood trees--could reach $670 billion.

Now Michael T. Smith, an Agricultural Research Service entomologist at the
Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit in Newark, Del., has generated
new dispersal data that predicts how far the beetle might spread once it
begins to invade an area.

This formidable pest was first found in the United States in 1996, a
stowaway amidst wooden crates from China. Since then, it's been invading
hardwood trees in the East, leaving an indelible mark on New York City and
Chicago parks. More than 7,500 trees have succumbed to the pest. Its
ravenous larvae feed inside trees, weakening them and disrupting vital
nutrient flow. 

Determining ALB presence has depended solely upon visual surveys. For this,
crews climb host trees--like maple and elm--in search of beetle activity.
They scan for small markings where eggs are laid under the bark and for
dime-sized holes indicating an adult beetle has exited the tree. Just as it
sounds, locating these subtle signs of ALB infestation is time-consuming and

Beetle surveys and the methods used to establish quarantine boundaries have
been missing something. That important piece of the ALB puzzle is an
increased understanding of the beetle itself--more specifically, how it
moves in the environment.

Realizing this, Smith and colleagues conducted the first ALB dispersal
research in the beetle's home territory of Gansu Province, China. They
marked and released almost 40,000 beetles, collected from nature, and
tracked their movements. Their finding? The beetles fly much longer
distances than originally thought--even females carrying eggs.

This new dispersal data could be used to establish more reliable survey and
quarantine boundaries, increasing the chances of successful eradication.

ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.

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