The USDA designates August as “tree check month” because it’s the month that an invasive species known as the Asian long-horned beetle is most active. And while this particular invasive pest hasn’t been found in Wisconsin yet, it’s closing in fast. Illinois and Ohio are already dealing with it.
There are only two ways to keep the Asian long-horned beetle out of Wisconsin.
The first is constant vigilance. Public News Story reported on the DNR’s take on the value of tree check month.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture is trying to keep the pest out of the state by watching for telltale signs on hardwood trees. The beetles bore round holes about three eighths of an inch in diameter into trunks and branches, creating long tunnels to lay their eggs. This eventually weakens and kills the tree.
…”We would like folks to get out and check their trees,” said [Rhonda Santos of the US Department of Agriculture.] “Take a look at their trees if they’ve got a few minutes to spare when they’re out and about, either in their back yard or in their neighborhood, in their favorite park. Take a look at the trees. See if there are any holes, any signs of the Asian long-horned beetle, and report any sightings.”
The signs include:
- Small exit holes in bark
- Small sawdust piles
- Dead leaves and branches at the top of the tree
- Oozing sap
- Shiny black beetles with white spots and white stripes.
Some native beetles look similar to the Asian long horned beetle, so if you think you’ve seen a beetle or the signs of a beetle’s passing, call in the experts. The number for the state agriculture department is 608-264-5112.
Checking trees is just one step in the prevention process. The second step is firewood control.
Like the emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetles can travel in firewood. A strict “buy it where you burn it” policy can help Wisconsin keep this invasive pest out.
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