Chesterton Tribune

Be on the lookout for tree killing beetle

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The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is urging residents to be on the lookout for another pest capable of destroying the stateís hardwood forests.

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is an invasive pest from China that can kill up to half of the stateís native hardwood trees. It was found last summer southeast of Cincinnati in Bethel, Ohio, 35 miles from the Indiana state line. This beetle likely entered the country in wood pallets. People can unknowingly transport this and other forest pests in their vehicles by moving firewood.

Since last November, when tree removals aimed at eradicating ALB began at the Ohio site, nearly 8,500 host trees have been destroyed.

August is significant because itís show time for adult ALBs. The DNR says to watch for a bug with an inch-long shiny black body with white spots, long black and white-striped antennae, and bluish feet. Maple, willow, elm, horse chestnut and birch trees are its favorite foods.

Signs of ALB include large perfectly round (half-inch diameter) exit holes and dark-colored wet spots on the bark of large tree branches and trunks. Wood shavings may also be seen in branch crotches or around the base of infested trees.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has proclaimed August as the inaugural Forest Pest Awareness Month, aimed at educating residents to identify and report suspected forest-killers in their communities.

Emerald ash borer, which already has claimed thousands of ash trees in Fort Wayne, Huntington, northeast Indianapolis and elsewhere, is one example of a forest killer.

For more on ALB, see BeetleBusters.info. To report a suspected infestation, call DNR at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684).

 

Posted 8/7/2012