Trapping Bugs May Save a Few Good Trees

Trapping Bugs May Save a Few Good Trees

In Massachusettes, the Asian Long-Horned beetle is killing trees by eating them from the inside out.  This pest is a particularly nasty one, so an aggressive trapping approach is being used to eradicate it.

The beetle comes from China and North Korea, but its point of origin is moot as it has taken up residence quite comfortably in the U.S.  In appearance, it is black and shiny, with white spots and white stripes appearing on its “horns.” It has a rather boxy body and two very long horns that extend backwards to almost create an oval around the body.

Traps are set using Asian long-horned beetle pheromones combined with plant volatiles from host trees (or trees where others of the species reside).  Typically, this insect will lay eggs inside the same tree from which it is born, and only seek out new territory when the tree becomes too crowded with beetles.

In one county alone, 34,000 trees have been removed as a result of the beetle invasion, out of 5 million trees surveyed.  Officials are amazed that they have managed to conquer the beetle so far, by restricting it to such a small area.