Battling Invasives

We hear most often about the invasive species that overwhelm all our efforts to halt their spread and takeover. There are some instances of success. The Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, is a native of China that attacks hardwoods. The successful eradication from Manhattan Island, New York was announced in May 2013.

Asian LongHorned Beetle

Asian Longhorned Beetle
Image: Donald Duerr, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

The Asian Longhorned Beetle was first detected in North America in Brooklyn, NY in 1996. Later it was detected in Chicago, IL in 1998, several counties in New Jersey between 2002 and 2004 and in the area around Worcester, MA between 2008 and 2010. Compared to other invasive beetle pests, the Asian Longhorned Beetle is larger, does not spread rapidly and increases its population more slowly. Its biology is amenable to eradication efforts. Asian Longhorned Beetle has been eradicated from Chicago; New Jersey was declared beetle free in April 2013; As of May 2013, it has been eradicated from Manhattan Island in New York where it threatened trees in Central Park.

Eradication is expensive, labor intensive and time consuming. However, eradication, once achieved reduces the need for future inspections and control efforts. Eradication requires that all trees in the area be extensively surveyed for signs of the beetle. Surveys often require tree climbers to inspect the upper reaches of trees for signs of beetle damage. Insecticide treatments can prevent nearby trees from becoming infested, however, the insecticides are not as effective against large beetle larvae. Those beetles must be controlled by destruction of the tree that harbors them, sometimes to the consternation of homeowners. The beetles migrate a limited distance of less than one mile per year. This delimits the initial area for eradication.

Eradication is cost effective compared to the potential damage this beetle could cause. Even more cost effective are efforts to prevent the entry of invasive species into North America.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Invasive Species, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Battling Invasives

  1. Pingback: Beetle Check | Living With Insects Blog

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