NH Audubon has joined state and federal agencies and other organizations to raise awareness of two invasive insects that threaten New Hampshire’s forests – the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Native to the Far East, both species were accidently brought to North America via untreated packing crates and other shipping materials. Both species feed on hardwood trees, and have the potential to devastate North American forests.
The Asian Long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) was first found in New York City in 1996, and is thought to have arrived sometime during the 1980’s. It has infested urban and suburban areas in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Toronto (Canada). In the summer of 2008, ALB was discovered in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 2010, in Boston. As of August, 2010, this species has not been found in New Hampshire, but with the extensive infestation in Worcester just over the border, there is the potential for this species to be accidently introduced via firewood from infested trees. Asian Long-horned beetles attack and kill hardwood trees, including maple, box elder, birch, American elm, American horse chestnut, poplar, and willow. The only known method of eliminating ALB is to destroy the trees by chipping or burning.
The Emerald Ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) was first discovered near Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 2002. Adult EAB feed on the foliage of ash tree species, but do not cause much damage. The larvae, however, bore into the inner bark to feed on the cambium, thus killing the tree. This species has been inadvertently spread by transport of infested firewood, and now is established in Windsor, Ontario, Ohio, northern Indiana, northern Illinois, Maryland, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Virginia, Minnesota, and Kentucky, and in the summer of 2010, EAB was found in the eastern side of New York. Over the past eight years, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees, causing extensive damage to property owners, towns, forest resources industries, and forest ecosystems. Although not currently in New Hampshire, researches expect that it will likely arrive within the next few years, probably by way of firewood.
What is being done?
In 2009, New Hampshire launched an outreach campaign to alert the public to the potential threat of ALB and EAB, including extensive media coverage, workshops, and “Beetle Blitz” events during the month of August. People are urged to keep an eye out for these distinctive species, to report any suspected sightings, and to refrain from transporting firewood. More information on ALB can be found on the UNH Cooperative Extension website: http://extension.unh.edu/ALB. Information on EAB can be found at http://www.emeraldashborer.info/index.cfm.
Project Leader: Laura Deming